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'Date i^'XX 

M&ldorf ASTO R Nancy 



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The Battle of the 
Falkland Islands 

Before and After 


Commander H. Spencer-Cooper 

With Coloured Frontispiece 
and Ten Maps and Charts 


London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne 


Zo tbc Aftemors 

of the 

Officers and Men 

of the Royal Navy and the Royal Naval Reserve 

who so gallantly gave their lives in the actions 
described in this book 


Part I.— Exploits off South America 


i. German Men-of-War in Foreign Seas 

2. The Policy of Admiral Count von Spee 

3. British Men-of-War off South America 

4. Life at Sea in 1914 .... 

5. The Sinking of the "Cap Trafalgar" 

6. The Action off Coronel . 

7. Concentration ..... 

8. Possibilities and Probabilities 



Part II.— The Battle of the Falkland's 

9. Away South ..... 

10. Enemy in Sight ..... 

11. The Battle-Cruiser Action 

12. The End of the "Leipzig" 

13. The Sinking of the "Nurnberg" 

14. Aftermath ...... 

15. The Psychology of the Sailor in Action 
if). Vow Spee's Aims and Hot 

17. The Parting of im. w \ . 

18. THE Last of- ti i i "DRESDEN" 








viii Contents 

Part III. — Official Dispatches 


i. The Action of H.M.S. "Carmania" . . 169 

2. The Action off Coronel by H.M.S. "Glasgow" 172 

3. Report by Vice-Admiral Count von Spee 174 

4. The Battle of the Falkland Islands . 178 

5. The Surrender of the " Dresden " . . 194 


A List of the Officers serving in the 

Actions Recorded ..... 197 

Index 221 


The War Zone in Western Seas . 

Chart of Course in " Carmania " — " Cap Trafalgar " 

Duel ........ 

The Coronel Action : Position when Enemy 


The Coronel Action : Position at Sunset . 
Chart of " Cornwall " Action {Inset) . 
Chart of Battle-Cruiser Action {Inset) 
Stanley Harbour : Positions of Warships . 
Battle of the Falklands : Positions at 1.20 p.m 
Battle of the Falklands : Positions at 2.45 p.m 
Duel between " Kent " and " Nurnberg " . 






This plain, unvarnished account, so far as is known, is 
the first attempt that has been made to link with the 
description of the Falkland Islands battle, fought on 
December 8th, 1914, the events leading up to that 

In order to preserve accuracy as far as possible, 
each phase presented has been read and approved by 
officers who participated. The personal views expressed 
on debatable subjects, such as strategy, are sure to 
give rise to criticism, but it must be remembered that 
at the time of writing the exact positions of the ships 
engaged in overseas operations were not fully known, 
even in the Service. 

The subject falls naturally into three divisions : 

Part I. deals briefly with the movements of British 
and German warships, and includes the duel fought by 
the Carmania, and the action that took place off Coronel. 

PART EI. describes the Falkland Islands battle itself, 
and thu subsequent fate of the German cruiser Dresden. 

Part III. contains the official dispatches bearing on 
these exploits. 

The words of Alfred Noyes have been referred to 
frequently, because they arc in so many respects pro- 

xii Introduction 

phetic, and also because of their influence in showing 
that the spirit of Drake still inspires the British Navy 
of to-day. 

The author takes this opportunity of expressing his 
warmest thanks to those who have helped him in 
collecting information and in the compilation of this 

Part I 

' Meekly content and tamely stay-at-home 
The sea-birds seemed that piped across the waves ; 
And Drake, bemused, leaned smiling to his friend 
Doughty and said, ' Is it not strange to know 
When we return, yon speckled herring-gulls 
Will still be wheeling, dipping, flashing there ? 
We shall not find a fairer land afar 
Than Ihose thyme-scented hills we leave behind ! 
Soon the young lambs will bleat across the combes, 
And breezes will bring puffs of hawthorn scent 
Down Devon lanes ; over the purple moors 
Lav'rocks will carol ; and on the village greens 
Around the maypole, while the moon hangs low, 
The boys and girls of England merrily swing 
In country footing through the flowery dance.' " 





" I, my Lords, have in different countries seen much of the miseries 
of war. I am, therefore, in my inmost soul, a man of peace. Yet 
I would not, for the sake of any peace, however fortunate, consent to 
sacrifice one jot of England's honour." — (Speech by Lord Nelson in the 
House of Lords, November i6lh, 1802.) 

We are now approaching the end of the third year of 
this great war,* and most Englishmen, having had some 
of the experience that war inevitably brings with it, 
will agree that the words which Nelson spoke are as 
true to-day as when tiny were uttered just over a cen- 
tury ago. Furthermore, as time and the war go on, 
the spirit of the whole British nation — be it man or 
woman — is put to an ever-increasing test of endur- 
ance, which is sustained and upheld by those two simple 
words, " England's Honour." An old platitude, " Might 
is Right," is constantly being quoted; but the nation 
that reverses the order is bound to outlast the other 
win through to the desired goal. The justness 
of the cause, then, is the secret of our strength, which 

• S'nie. — This book was completed in May, 1917. but was withheld from 
publication on account of the many omissions prescribed by the Naval Censor. 

4 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

will not only endure but bring success to our arms in 
the end. 

When Great Britain plunged into this Armageddon 
on August 4th, 1914, the only German squadron not 
in European waters was stationed in the Western Pacific, 
with its main base at Tsingtau. In addition there were 
a few German light cruisers isolated in various parts of 
the world, many of them being in proximity to British 
squadrons, which would point to the fact that Germany 
never really calculated on Great Britain throwing in 
her lot on the opposite side. 

The recent troubles in Mexico accounted for the 
presence of both British and German cruisers in those 
waters, where they had been operating in conjunction 
with one another in the most complete harmony. As 
an instance, it might be mentioned that on August 2nd, 
1914, one of our sloops was actually about to land a 
guard for one of our Consulates at a Mexican port in 
the boats belonging to a German light cruiser ! 

A short description of some of the movements of 
the German ships during the first few months of war 
will suffice to show that their primary object was to 
damage our overseas trade as much as possible. Further, 
since it is the fashion nowadays to overrate Germany's 
powers of organisation and skill, it will be interesting to 
observe that in spite of the vulnerability of our world- 
wide trade comparatively little was achieved. 

The German squadron in China was under the com- 
mand of Vice-Admiral Count von Spee. The outbreak 

German Men-of-War in Foreign Seas 5 

of war found him on a cruise in the Pacific, which ulti- 
mately extended far beyond his expectations. The 
two armoured cruisers Scharnhorst — in which Admiral 
von Spee flew his flag — and Gneisenau left Nagasaki on 



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June 28th, 1914. Their movements southward are of 
no particular interest until their arrival on July 7th 
at the Truk or Rug Islands, in the Caroline group, 
which then belonged to Germany. After a few days 
they leisurely continued their cruise amongst the 

6 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

islands of Polynesia. About the middle of the month the 
light cruiser Number g was hastily recalled from San 
Francisco, and sailed on July 21st, joining von Spee's 
squadron at Ponape (also one of the Caroline Islands), 
where the three ships mobilised for war. On August 6th 
they sailed for an unknown destination, taking with them 
an auxiliary cruiser called the Titania. 

Apparently they were somewhat short of provisions, 
particularly of fresh meat and potatoes, for it was said 
in an intercepted letter that their diet consisted mainly 
of " spun yarn " (preserved meat). 

On August 22nd the Niimberg was sent to Honolulu 
to get papers and to send telegrams, rejoining the 
squadron shortly afterwards. A day or two later she 
was again detached, this time to Fanning Island, where 
she destroyed the British cable station, cut the cable, 
rejoining the squadron about September 7th, apparently 
at Christmas Island. Hearing that hostile forces were 
at Apia (Samoan Islands), von Spee sailed southward 
only to find, on his arrival, that it was empty of 

The squadron now proceeded eastward to the French 
Society Islands to see what stores were to be found 
there. Completing supplies of coal at Bora Bora Island, 
it suddenly appeared off Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, 
on September 22nd. A French gunboat lying in the 
harbour was sunk by shell-fire, the town and forts were 
subjected to a heavy bombardment, whilst the coal stores 
were set on fire. Calling in later at the Marquesas Islands, 
the German Admiral shaped his course eastward toward 
Easter Island, which was reached on October 12th. 

German Men-of-War in Foreign Seas 7 

The light cruiser Leipzig sailed from Mazatlan, an 
important town on the west coast of Mexico, on August 
2nd. Ten days later she was reported off the entrance 
to Juan de Fuca Straits, between Vancouver and the 
mainland, but never ventured inside to attack the naval 
dockyard of Esquimalt. When war broke out the 
Canadian Government with great promptitude purchased 
two submarines from an American firm at Seattle ; this 
was probably known to the Germans, and might account 
for their unwillingness to risk an attack on a port that 
was otherwise practically defenceless. 

The Canadian light cruiser Rainbow, together with 
the British sloop Algerine, did excellent work on this 
coast. The former, in particular, showed much zeal in 
shadowing the Leipzig, though they never actually met. 

The Leipzig achieved absolutely nothing worthy of 
note, although she remained on the west coast of America 
for a long time. It was not till the middle of October 
that she joined Admiral von Spee's squadron at Easter 
Island, without having caused any damage to the 
British Mercantile Marine. 

The light cruiser Dresden was at St. Thomas, one 
of the larger of the Virgin Islands group, West Indies. 
She sailed on August ist and proceeded straight to 
Cape Horn, only staying her career to coal at various 
places en route where she was unlikely to be reported. 
Crossing and re-crossing the trade route, she arrived 
on September 5th at Orange Bay, which is a large un- 
inhabited Datura] harbour a few miles to the north- 
west of Cape Horn. Here she was met by a collier, 

8 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

and stayed eleven days making adjustments to her 
engines. She evidently considered that she was now 
free from danger — we had no cruisers here at this period 
— for she continued her course into the Pacific, easing 
down to a speed of 8| knots, and keeping more in the 
track of shipping. She met the German gunboat Eber 
on September 19th, to the northward of Magellan, and 
continued her way, apparently on the look out for 
allied commerce, but only succeeded in sinking two 
steamers before joining the flag of Admiral von Spee 
at Easter Island on October 12th. Altogether she sank 
three steamers and four sailing vessels, representing a 
total value of just over £250,000. 

The light cruiser Karlsruhe, the fastest and most 
modern of the German ships on foreign service, was in 
the Gulf of Mexico at the commencement of the war. 
On her way to her sphere of operations in the neighbour- 
hood of Pernambuco she was sighted on August 6th, 
whilst coaling at sea from the armed liner Kronprinz 
Wilhelm, by the British cruiser Suffolk. Admiral Cradock, 
who was then flying his flag in the Suffolk, immediately 
gave chase to the Karlsruhe, the Kronprinz Wilhelm bolt- 
ing in the opposite direction. During the forenoon 
Admiral Cradock called up by wireless the light cruiser 
Bristol, which was in the vicinity, and, giving her the 
position of the Karlsruhe, ordered her to intercept the 
enemy. The Karlsruhe was kept in sight by the Suffolk 
for several hours, but was never within gun-range, and 
finally escaped from her by superior speed. It was a 
beautiful moonlight evening when the Bristol sighted her 

German Men-of-War in Foreign Seas 9 

quarry at S p.m., and a quarter of an hour later opened 
fire, which was returned a few moments later by the 
Karlsruhe, but it was too dark for either ship to see 
the results of their shooting. All the enemy's shots fell 
short, so that the Bristol incurred no damage. Both 
ships went on firing for fifty-five minutes, by which 
time the German had drawn out of range. Admiral 
Cradock signalled during the action, " Stick to it — I am 
coming " ; all this time the Suffolk was doing her best 
to catch up, but never succeeded in reaching the scene 
of the first naval action in the world-war. The German 
disappeared in the darkness, and was never seen again 
by our warships. 

In her subsequent raids on British commerce along 
the South Atlantic trade routes the Karlsruhe was, on 
the whole, successful, until she met a sudden and in- 
glorious end off Central America. Her fate was for a 
long time shrouded in mystery, the first clue being 
some of her wreckage, which was found washed up on 
the shores of the island of St. Vincent in the West Indies. 
Some of her survivors eventually found their way back 
to the Fatherland and reported that she had foundered 
with 260 officers and men — due to an internal explosion 
on November 4th, 1914, in latitude io° 07' N., longitude 
55° 25' W. (See Map p. 5) 

In all she sank seventeen ships, representing a value 
of £1,622,000. 

There remain three German armed merchant cruisers 
that claim our attention on account of their operations 
off South America. The Cap Trafalgar only existed for 

io The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

a month before being sunk by the armed Cimard liner 
Carmania. A description of the fight is given in a 
subsequent chapter. 

The Frinz Eitel Friedrich was more directly under the 
orders of Admiral von Spee, and acted in conjunction 
with his squadron in the Pacific until the battle of the 
Falkland Islands, when she operated on her own account 
against our trade with South America. She achieved 
some measure of success during the few months that 
she was free, and captured ten ships altogether, several 
of which, however, were sailing vessels. Early in March 
she arrived at Newport News in the United States with a 
number of prisoners on board, who had been taken from 
these prizes. She was badly in need of refit ; her 
engines required repairs, and the Germans fondly imag- 
ined that they might escape internment. On hearing 
that one of her victims was an American vessel, public 
indignation was hotly aroused and but little sympathy 
was shown for her wants. Her days of marauding were 
brought to an abrupt termination, for the Americans 
resolutely interned her. 

Lastly, there was the Kronprinz Wilhelm, which, as 
we have seen, was in company with the Karlsruhe when 
the latter was sighted and chased by the Suffolk only 
two days after war was declared. She was commanded 
by one of the officers of the Karlsruhe, and worked 
under her orders in the Atlantic. In fact, the German 
cruiser transferred two of her Q.F. guns to the armed 
merchantman, and they were mounted on her forecastle. 
She was skilful in avoiding our cruisers and literally 
fed upon her captures, being fortunate in obtaining 

German Men-of-War in Foreign Seas n 

coal with fair frequency. In the course of eight 
months the Kronprinz WUhelm captured and destroyed 
fifteen British or French ships, four of which were 
sailing vessels. It will be realised how small was 
the toll of our ships sailing these seas, especially 
when it is recollected that the main object of the Ger- 
mans at this time was to make war on our maritime 
trade. Finalfy, sickness broke out on board and there 
were several cases of beriberi ; moreover, the ship 
leaked and was in want of repairs, so on April nth 
she also steamed into Newport News and was interned. 
That the Germans did not approach the results they 
hoped for in attacking our commerce was in a large 
measure due to the unceasing activity of our cruisers, 
who forced the German ships to be continually on the 
move to fresh hunting grounds. Thus, although many 
of them escaped capture or destruction for some time, 
they were perpetually being disturbed and hindered 
in their work of depredation. 

The exploits of the light cruisers Emden and Konigs- 
berg are outside the scope of this book, but the following 
brief summary may be of interest. 

Sailing from Tsingtau on August 5U1, with four 
colliers, the Emden apparently proceeded to cruise in 
the neighbourhood of Vladivostock, where she captured 
.a Russian auxiliary cruiser and one <>r two merchant 
-hi].- , before going south t<> make history in tin- r..i\ 
oi Bengal She was eventually brought i" book off 

the I I land on November 9th, km 1. by the Aus 

tralian light cruiser Sydney, in a very gallant action 

12 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

which lasted over an hour and a half, when she ran 
herself ashore in a sinking condition on North Keeling 
Island. She sank seventeen ships all told, representing 
a total value of £2,211,000. 

The Konigsberg, at the commencement of hostilities, 
was lying at Dar-es-Salaam, the capital of what was 
formerly German East Africa. She sank the Pegasus, 
a light cruiser only two-thirds of her size and of much 
inferior armament, at Zanzibar on September 20th, but 
only succeeded in sinking one or two steamers after- 
wards. She was eventually discovered hiding in the 
Rufiji Delta in German East Africa, towards the end of 
October, 1914, where she was kept blocked up by our 
ships for nearly nine months. Finally, on July nth, 
1915, she was destroyed by gunfire by the monitors 
Severn and Mersey, who went up the river — the banks 
on both sides being entrenched — and reduced her to 
a hopeless wreck where she lay, some fourteen miles 
from the sea. 



It is clearly impossible to state with any exactitude 
the motives which governed von Spee's policy ; but, 
in briefly reviewing the results, a shrewd idea of the 
reasons which led him to certain conclusions may be 
formed. Also, it will assist the reader to a conclusion 
on the merits and demerits of the strategy adopted, and 
will help him to follow more easily the reasons for some 
of the movements of our own ships described in the 
next chapter. 

That Admiral von Spee did not return to Tsingtau 
at the outbreak of hostilities appears significant, since 
ho was by no means inferior to our squadron, and wished 
to mobilise his ships. He, however, sent the Emden 
there with dispatches and instructions to the colliers 
about meeting him after she had escorted them to sea. 
Japan, it will be remembered, did not declare war till 
August 2 jrd, 1914, and therefore could scarcely have 
come into his earlier calculations. His action in con- 
tinuing his cruise in the Southern Pacific, where he 
handy and ready to strike at the French colonies* 
at the psychological moment of the outbreak of hostilities, 
gives the impression that he did not consider England's 
intervention probable. 

• The German Chancellor bad publicly declared the intention to c.ipturr 
the French colonies. 


14 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Previous to the war, the Leipzig and Numberg had 
been detached to the West Coast of America, and it 
appears likely that von Spee was influenced in his decision 
to remain at large in the Pacific by this fact, as, before 
this dispersal of his squadron, he would have been dis- 
tinctly superior to the British Fleet in the China Station 
at that time. Great care was taken by him to keep all 
his movements secret, and he appears to have avoided 
making many wireless signals. 

The decision of the British Government to proceed 
with operations against the German colonies in the 
Southern Pacific must have had a determining effect 
on German policy ; this decision was made at the very 
outset and allowed the enemy no time to make pre- 
parations to counter it. The value of the patriotism 
and loyal co-operation of the Dominions in building up 
their own Navy in peace time was now clearly demon- 
strated, Australia being the first of our Dominions to 
embark on this policy. 

The German China squadron was inferior in strength 
to our ships in Australian waters, and could not afford 
to risk encountering the powerful battle-cruiser Aus- 
tralia with her eight 12-inch guns ; consequently, von 
Spee was compelled to abandon the many colonies in 
Polynesia to their fate. Finally, the advent of Japan 
into the conflict left him little choice but to make his 
way to the eastward, since not to do so was to court 
almost certain destruction, while to move west and 
conceal his whereabouts was an impossibility. That 
von Spee felt his position to be precarious, and had diffi- 
culty in making up his mind what to do, is shown by 

Policy of Admiral Count von Spee 15 

the slow and indecisive movement of his squadron at 

The movements of the German light cruisers lead to 
the conclusion that they must have received orders to 
scatter so as to destroy our trade in various spheres. 
The Leipzig apparently patrolled the western side of 
North America, whilst the Karlsruhe took the South 
Atlantic, and so on. 

Why the Dresden should have steamed over 6,000 
miles to the Pacific instead of assisting the Karlsruhe 
is hard to explain, unless she had direct orders from 
the German Admiralty. She could always have joined 
von Spee later. 

With the exception of the Emdcn, who operated with 
success in the Bay of Bengal, and the Karlsruhe, whose 
area of operations was along the junction of the South 
Atlantic and the West Indian trade routes, none of them 
succeeded in accomplishing a fraction of the damage 
that might reasonably have been expected at a time 
when our merchantmen were not organised for war and 
business was " as usual." It cannot be denied that the 
Emdcn s raid wholly disorganised the trade along the 
east coast of India. The local moneylenders — who are 
the bankers to the peasants — abandoned the coast com- 
pleted, trade nearly came to a standstill, and the damage 
>k months to recover. In this case the effects 
could by no means be measured by an armchair calcu- 
lation of the tonnage sunk by the Iimdcn in pounds, 
shilling- and pence. 

The main anxiety of the German Admiral lay in the 
continuance of his supplies, which could only be assured 

16 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

by careful organisation. This was rendered compara- 
tively easy in South America, where every port teemed 
with Germans ; the wheels of communication, through 
the agency of shore wireless stations, were well oiled by 
German money, and there were numerous German mer- 
chantmen, fitted with wireless, ready to hand to be used 
as supply ships or colliers. 

It was thus of paramount importance that the Ger- 
man Squadron should be rounded up and annihilated 
before it could become a serious menace to our trade 
and that of our Allies. The other remaining light 
cruisers of the enemy, who were operating singly, could 
be dealt with more easily, since our ships could afford 
to separate in order to search for them, thus rendering 
it only a matter of time before they were destroyed. 

What was the object, then, of the German Admiral ? 
This was the all-important question that occupied the 
thoughts of all our naval officers in foreign parts. On 
the assumption that he would come eastwards, there 
appeared to be few choices open to him beyond the 
following : 

(i) To bombard the seaports of our colonies on the 
west coast of Africa and to attack weakly defended 
but by no means valueless naval stations (such as 
St. Helena), at the same time operating against British 
and French expeditions going by sea against German 

(2) To go to South Africa, destroy the weak British 
squadron at the Cape, and hang up Botha's expedition 
by supporting a rising against us in the South African 

Policy of Admiral Count von Spee 17 

(3) To endeavour to make his way home to Germany. 

(4) To operate in the North Atlantic 

(5) To harass our trade with South America. 
Both the first and second appeared quite feasible, 

but they had the twofold disadvantage of involving 
actions nearer England and of very possibly restrict- 
ing the enemy a good deal in his movements ; there 
are few harbours on this coast, and his every movement 
would become known in a region where we held the 
monopoly in methods of communication. Consequently, 
any success here was bound to be more or less short- 
lived. On the other hand, matters were undoubtedly 
very critical in these parts. De la Rey, when he was 
shot, was actually on his way to raise the Vierkleur 
at Potchefstroom, and any striking naval success which 
it would have taken us three weeks to deal with at 
the very least, might have just set the balance against 
us at this time in the minds of the waverers. Moreover, 
it would not have been difficult to ensure supplies from 
the German colonies. 

The third may be dismissed as being extremely 
improbable at the outset, for it is difficult to run a 
blockade with a number of ships, and, for the enemy, 
it would too much have resembled thrusting his head 
into the lion's jaws. Besides, he could be of far greater 
service to his country in roaming the seas and in con- 
tinuing to be a thorn in our side as long as possible. 

The fourth will scarcely bear examination ; cut off 
from all bases, he could hardly hope to escape early 
<h -truction. 

Ih- fifth seemed by far the most favourable '«' Ins 

18 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

hopes, as being likely to yield a richer harvest, and, if 
successful, might paralyse our enormous trade with 
South America, upon which we were so dependent. 

German influence was predominant as well as un- 
scrupulous along the Brazilian coasts, which would render 
it easy to maintain supplies. To evoke sympathy amongst 
the smaller Republics would also come within his horizon. 
Finally, he could have had little idea of our strength in 
South Africa ; whereas information gleaned from Val- 
paraiso (which von Spee evidently considered reliable) 
as to the precise extent of our limited naval resources 
then on the east coast of South America, must have 
proved a deciding factor in determining his strategy. 

Whichever course were adopted, it was practically 
certain that the German Admiral would move east- 
wards, either through the Straits of Magellan or, more 
probably, round the Horn to avoid having his where- 
abouts reported. That this occurred to the minds of 
our naval authorities before the action off Coronel took 
place is practically certain, but it is to be regretted that 
reinforcements to Admiral Cradock's squadron operating 
in South American waters were not sent there in time 
to prevent that disaster. 

This, then, in brief, was the problem that presented 
itself to our commanders after the battle of Coronel 
took place, and no doubt influenced them in the choice 
of the Falkland Islands as a base, its geographical posi- 
tion making it almost ideal in the event of any move 
in that direction on the part of the Germans. 



" If England hold 
The sea, she holds the hundred thousand gates 
That open to futurity. She holds 
The highways of all ages. Argosies 
Of unknown glory set their sails this day 
For England out of ports beyond the stars. 
Ay, on the sacred seas we ne'er shall know 
They hoist their sails this day by peaceful quays, 
Great gleaming wharves i' the perfect City of God, 
If she but claims her heritage." 

— Alfred Noyes (Drake). 

Before attempting to give a description of the battle 
of the Falkland Islands, it is necessary to review very 
briefly the movements and dispositions of our ships, 
as well as the events preceding the battle, which include 
both the duel between the armed merchant cruiser Car- 
mania and Cap Trafalgar and the action fought off 
Coronel on the coast of Chili by Admiral Cradock. 

Our naval forces were scattered in comparatively 
small units all over the world when war broke out. 
Ships in various squadrons were separated from one 
another by great distances, and, with the exception 
of our Mediterranean Fleet, we possessed no squadron 
in any part of the globe equal in strength to that of 
von Sj>' 

Attention is directed to the positions of Eastei 
Island, where the Germans had last been reported, 


20 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Valparaiso, Coronel, Magellan Straits, Staten Island, 
the Falkland Islands, Buenos Ayres, Montevideo, Rio de 
Janeiro, Pernambuco, and the Island of Trinidad off 
the east coast of South America, since they occur con- 
tinually in the course of this narrative.* 

In the early part of 1914 Rear-Admiral Sir Christo- 
pher Cradock, K.C.V.O., C.B., flying his flag in the 
Suffolk, was in command of the fourth cruiser squadron, 
which was then doing some very useful work in the 
Gulf of Mexico. On August 2nd he was at Kingston, 
Jamaica, and received information that the Good Hope 
was on her way out to become his flagship, so he sailed 
northwards to meet her. On the way he sighted and 
gave chase to the Karlsruhe on August 6th, as has 
been related. The Suffolk and the Good Hope met at 
sea ten days later, and the Admiral went on board the 
latter immediately and hoisted his flag. 

Turning south, he went to Bermuda, called in at 
St. Lucia on August 23rd, and thence proceeded along 
the north coast of South America on his way to take 
up the command of a newly forming squadron of British 
ships patrolling the trade routes and protecting the 
merchant shipping in South American waters. At St. 
Lucia Admiral Cradock would probably have learned of 
the sailing of von Spee's squadron from Ponape on 
August 6th, and this accounts for his haste in making 
south in order to meet and form his ships together. 

The squadron was gradually augmented as time 
went on, and in the months of September and October, 
1914, consisted of the flagship Good Hope (Captain Philip 

* See Map, p. 5. 

British Men-of-War off S. America 21 

Francklin), Canopus (Captain Heathcoat Grant), Mon- 
mouth (Captain Frank Brandt), Cornwall (Captain W. M. 
Ellerton), Glasgow (Captain John Luce), Bristol (Captain 
B. H. Fanshawe), and the armed merchant cruisers 
Otranto (Captain H. Mel. Edwards), Macedonia (Captain 
B. S. Evans), and Orama (Captain J. R. Segrave). 

No news was obtainable as to the whereabouts of 
the German squadron stationed in the Pacific, which 
consisted of the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Emden, Niirn- 
berg, and Leipzig, except that it was known that the 
two latter had been operating on the east side of the 
Pacific, and that the Emden was in the Bay of Bengal. 
The vaguest rumours, all contradicting one another, 
were continually being circulated, in which it is more 
than likely that German agents had a large share. 

Admiral Cradock proceeded south in the middle 
of September to watch the Straits of Magellan, and 
to patrol between there and the River Plate, as he 
doubtless hoped to prevent the Karlsruhe and Dresden 
— which, when last heard of, were in South American 
waters — from attempting to effect a junction with their 
main squadron. With him were the Monmouth, Glasgow, 
and the armed Orient liner Otranto, in addition to his 
own ship the Good Hope, which, together with his 
colliers, had their first base in the Falkland Islands. 

On hearing of the appearance of the Germans off 
Papei-t'- and of the bombardment of the French colony 
there on September 22nd, it was apparently considered 
expedient to proceed to the wesl coasl of South America 
in order to intercept the enemy. Accordingly, early 

22 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

in October the Monmouth, Glasgow, and Otranto went 
round to the Pacific, diligently searching out the many 
inlets and harbours en route, and arrived at Valparaiso 
on October 15th, but only stayed a part of one day 
in order to get stores and provisions. They then went 
back southwards to meet the Good Hope and Canopus, 
vainly hoping to fall in with the Leipzig or Dresden 
on the way. The Good Hope reached the Chilian coast 
on October 29th, and all ships filled up with coal ; the 
Canopus was due very shortly, and actually sighted 
our ships steaming off as she arrived. 

In order to carry out a thorough and effective exam- 
ination of the innumerable inlets that abound amongst 
the channels of Tierra del Fuego, in addition to the bays 
and harbours on both coasts of South America, it be- 
came necessary to divide up this squadron into separ- 
ate units. To expedite matters, colliers were sent to 
meet our ships, so that valuable time should not be lost 
in returning to the base at the Falkland Islands. The 
first fine day was seized to fill up with coal, care always 
being taken to keep outside the three-mile territorial 

It must have been a trying and anxious time for 
both officers and men, while pursuing their quest, never 
knowing what force might suddenly be disclosed in 
opening out one of these harbours. From the weather 
usually experienced in these parts some idea may be 
formed of the discomforts. An officer in the Glasgow, 
writing of this period, says : "It blew, snowed, rained, 
hailed, and sleeted as hard as it is possible to do these 
things. I thought the ship would dive under alto- 

British Men-of-War off S. America 23 

get her at times. It was a short sea, and very high, 
and doesn't suit this ship a bit. The Monmouth was 
rather worse, if anything, though not quite so wet. 
We were rolling 35 degrees, and quite useless for fight- 
ing purposes. The ship was practically a submarine." 

Imagine, too, the position of the Otranto, searching 
these waters by herself, without the least hope of being 
able to fight on level terms with one of the enemy's 
light-cruisers. The words of one of her officers sum up 
the situation : "' We finally got past caring what might 
happen," he said ; " what with the strain, the weather, 
and the extreme cold, we longed to find something 
and to have it out, one way or the other." 

When the depredations of the Karlsruhe became 
more numerous, the Admiralty dispatched ships — as 
could best be spared from watching other trade routes 
— to reinforce Admiral Cradock's command. Thus, 
what may be termed a second squadron was formed, 
consisting of the Canopus, Cornwall, Bristol, the armed 
P. & O. liner Macedonia, and the armed Orient liner 
Orama. This latter squadron carried out a fruitless 
search during September and October for the ever 
elusive Karlsruhe, but, so far as is known, did not suc- 
ceed in getting near her, for she was never actually 
sighted. In the absence of orders from Admiral Cradock, 
the «luli' of Senior Naval Officer of this northern 
squadron frequently involved the consideration of 
matters of no little consequence. These duties primarily 
Ived upon the houlders "i Captain Fanshawe of 
the Bristol, who was succeeded "ii tit*- arrival ol the 
Canopus by Captain Heathcoat Grant. As tin pool 

24 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

state of the engines of the Canopus did not enable her 
to steam at any speed, she remained at the base and 
directed operations, forming a valuable link with her 
wireless. Orders, however, were received from Admiral 
Cradock which necessitated her sailing on October ioth 
in order to join his southern squadron, so that Captain 
Fanshawe was again left in command. 

On October 24th the Carnarvon (Captain H. L. d'E. 
Skipwith) arrived, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A. P. 
Stoddart, who, though acting under the orders of Admiral 
Cradock, now took charge of the sweeping operations 
necessitated by our quest. Admiral Stoddart had pre- 
viously been in command of the ships operating along 
our trade routes near the Cape Verde Islands, where 
the Carnarvon had not long before made a valuable 
capture, the German storeship Professor Woermann, 
filled with coal and ammunition. 

The comparatively large number of men-of-war 
mentioned is accounted for by the fact that at this 
time the Karlsruhe began to make her presence felt 
by sinking more merchant ships, which caused no little 
apprehension amongst the mercantile communities in 
all the ports on the north and east coasts of South 
America, Brazilian firms at this period refusing to ship 
their goods in British bottoms, although some British 
vessels were lying in harbour awaiting cargoes. The 
German ship's activities were mainly confined to the 
neighbourhood of St. Paul's Rocks, Pernambuco, and 
the Equator. 

It is not easy to put clearly the disposition of the 
ships acting under Admiral Cradock at this time, nor 

British Men-of-War off S. America 25 

to give an adequate idea of the many disadvantages 
with which he had to contend. The difficulties of 
communication on the east coast of South America be- 
tween his two squadrons were very great, on account 
of the long distances between them (often some thou- 
sands of miles and always greater than the range of our 
wireless). The only method found feasible was to send 
messages in code by means of passing British merchant- 
men — usually the Royal Mail liners. The inevitable 
result of this was that it was frequently impossible for 
Admiral Cradock to keep in touch with his northern 
squadron, and important matters of policy had thus to 
be decided on the spot, the Admiral being informed later. 

On the rare occasions that our ships visited Brazilian 
ports, which were crowded with German shipping, the 
crews of these ships, having nothing better to do, would 
come and pull round our cruisers — in all probability 
cursing us heartily the while — much to the interest 
and amusement of our men. These visits could only 
take place at the most once every three months, when 
the opportunity of getting a good square meal at a civ- 
ilised restaurant was hailed with delight by those officers 
who were off duty. 

Our coaling base in these waters was admirably 
selected. There was sufficient anchorage for a large 
number of ships four or five miles from any land, but 
protected from anything but a heavy swell or sea by 
surrounding ledges of coral awash at low water. Some- 
times colliers got slightly damaged by bumping against 
our ships when there was a swell, but in other respects 

26 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

it suited its purpose excellently. The Brazilians sent 
a destroyer to investigate once or twice, but could find 
nothing to arouse their susceptibilities, for our ships 
were always well outside the three-mile limit. Our sole 
amusement was fishing, frequently for sharks. 

Towards the latter part of August, the armed mer- 
chant cruiser Carmania (Captain Noel Grant) was sent 
out to join Admiral Cradock's squadron with coal, pro- 
visions, and a large quantity of frozen meat, which was 
sadly needed. She was ordered by him to assist the 
Cornwall in watching Pernambuco on September nth, 
as it was thought that the German storeship Patagonia 
was going to put to sea on September nth to join the 
Karlsruhe. On her way south she got orders to search 
Trinidad Island in the South Atlantic to find out whether 
the Germans were making use of it as a coaling base, 
and there fell in with the German armed liner Cap 
Trafalgar, which she sank in a very gallant action that 
is described in a subsequent chapter. 

The armed merchant cruiser Edinburgh Castle (Cap- 
tain W. R. Napier) was sent out from England with 
drafts of seamen and boys, as well as provisions and 
stores for our men-of-war in these waters. On her 
arrival at the base on October 12th, she was detained 
on service to assist in the sweep that had been organised 
to search for the Karlsruhe. Some of us have pleasant 
recollections of excellent games of deck hockey played 
on the spacious promenade deck during her all too short 
stay with us. 

The Defence (Captain E. La T. Leatham) touched at 

British Men-of-War off S. America 27 

the base to coal on October 27th, being on her way 
south to join Admiral Cradock's southern command. 
She had to coal in bad weather, and perforated the 
collier's side in doing so, but succeeded in completing 
with coal in the minimum possible time under difficult 
conditions. Without loss of time she proceeded to 
Montevideo, but never got any farther, as it was there 
that the news of the Coronel disaster first reached her. 
Admiral Cradock hoped to find von Spee before the 
German light-cruisers Dresden and Leipzig joined the 
main squadron ; but he also was most anxious to wait 
for the Defence. She would have made a very powerful 
addition to his squadron, and it seems a thousand pities 
that it was not possible to effect this junction before he 
quitted the eastern shores of South America for the 

The Defence was very unlucky, and had a great deal 
of hard work without any kudos ; not till Admiral 
Sturdee's arrival did she leave to join the Minotaur 
on the Cape of Good Hope station, and the very day 
she arrived there got the news of the Falkland Islands 
battle ! Having covered 23,000 miles in two and a 
half months, the disappointment at having missed that 
fight was, of course, intense. It is sad to think that 
f« w of her gallant crew are alive to-day, as she was after- 
wards sunk in the battle of Jutland. 

Hi' Invincible, flagship of Vice-Admiral F. C. Dove- 
ton Sturdee (Captain P. H. Beamish), the Inflexible 

(tain R. F. Phiffimore, C.B., M.V.O.), and the Kent 
{( aptain J. I). Allen) enter the scene oi operations Liter. 



" A seaman, smiling, swaggered out of the inn, 
Swinging in one brown hand a gleaming cage 
Wherein a big green parrot chattered and clung 
Fluttering against the wires." 

— ALFRED NOYES (Drake). 

A short digression may perhaps be permitted, if it 
can portray the long days, when for months at a time 
little occurs to break the monotony of sea life. The 
reader may also experience the charitable feeling that, 
at the expense of his patience, the sailor is indulging 
in the " grouse " that proverbially is supposed to be so 
dear to him. 

Of necessity, work on board ship in wartime must 
be largely a matter of routine ; and, though varied as 
much as possible, it tends to relapse into " the trivial 
round, the common task." All day and all night men 
man the guns ready to blaze off at any instant, extra 
look-outs are posted, and there are officers and men 
in the control positions. The ship's company is usually 
organised into three watches at night, which take turns 
in relieving one another every four hours. 

After sunrise the increased visibility gives ample 
warning of any possible attack. The messdecks, guns, 
and ship generally are cleaned before breakfast, while 
the forenoon soon passes in perfecting the guns' crews 


Life at Sea in 1914 29 

and controls, and in physical drill. After dinner at 
noon and a smoke, everyone follows the old custom of 
the sea, and has a caulk (a sleep) — a custom origin- 
ated in the days of sailing ships who were at sea for 
long periods at a time, and watch and watch (i.e. one 
watch on and one off) had to be maintained both day 
and night. The men he about the decks, too tired 
to feel the want of either mattresses or pillows. The 
first dog watch (4-6 p.m.) is usually given up to recrea- 
tion until sunset, when it is time to go to night defence 
stations. Day in and day out, this programme is seldom 
varied except to stop and examine a merchant ship 
now and again. 

Every ship met with on the high seas is boarded 
for the examination of its passengers and cargo, an 
undertaking often attended by some difficulty on a 
dark night. On approaching, it is customary to signal 
the ship to stop ; if this is not obeyed at once, a blank 
round is fired as a warning ; should this be disregarded 
a shotted round is fired across her bows, but it is seldom 
necessary to resort to this measure. At night these 
excursions have a strange, unreal effect, and our board- 
ing officer used to say that when climbing up a mer- 
chantman's side in rough weather he felt like some 
character in a pirate story. Getting out of a boat, 
as it is tossing alongside, on to a rope ladder, is by 
no means an easy job, especially if the officer is in- 
< lined to be portly. The searchlight, too, turned full 
on to the ship, blinding the scared passengers who come 
tumbling up, frequently imagining they have been 
torpedoed, adds to the mysterious effect produced, whilst 

30 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

the sudden appearance of the boarding officer in his 
night kit suggests a visit from Father Neptune. But 
any idea of comedy is soon shattered by the grumpy 
voice of the captain who has been turned out from his 
beauty sleep, or by the vehement objections of a lady 
or her husband to their cabin being searched. As a 
matter of fact, we were always met with the most un- 
failing courtesy, and the boat's crew was often loaded 
with presents of cigarettes or even chocolates, besides 
parcels of newspapers hastily made up and thrown down 
at the last moment. 

Off a neutral coast the food problem is an everlast- 
ing difficulty, and as soon as the canteen runs out and 
tinned stores cannot be replenished, the menu resolves 
itself into a more or less fixed item of salt beef (" salt 
horse ") or salt pork with pea soup. The old saying, 
" Feed the brute, if a man is to be kept happy," has 
proved itself true, but is one which at sea is often extra- 
ordinarily hard to follow, especially when it is impossible 
to get such luxuries as eggs, potatoes, and fresh meat. 
If flour runs out, the ship's biscuit (" hard tack "), 
which often requires a heavy blow to break it, forms 
but a poor substitute for bread ; although it is quite 
good eating, a little goes a long way. The joy with 
which the advent of an armed liner is heralded by the 
officers cannot well be exaggerated ; the stewards from 
all ships lose no time in trying to get all they can, and 
the memory of the first excellent meal is not easily 

The ever-recurring delight of coaling ship is looked 
forward to directly anchorage is reached. Coal-dust 

Life at Sea in 1914 31 

then penetrates everywhere, even to the food, and after 
a couple of hours it seems impossible for the ship ever 
to be clean again. Nearly every officer and man on 
board, including the chaplain and paymasters, join in 
the work, which continues day and night, as a rule, 
until finished. If this takes more than twenty-four 
hours there is the awful trial of sleeping, clothes and 
all, covered in grime, for hammocks have to be foregone, 
else they would be quite unfit for further use. The 
men wear any clothes they like. In the tropics it is 
a warm job working in the holds, and clothes are some- 
what scanty. A very popular article is a bashed-in 
bowler hat, frequently worn with white shorts, and a 
football jersey ! There is, generally, a wag amongst 
the men who keeps them cheery and happy, even during 
a tropical rain storm. His powers of mimicking, often 
ranging from politicians to gunnery instructors, bring 
forth rounds of applause, and all the time he'll dig out 
like a Trojan. 

The sailor is a cheery bird, and seldom lets an oppor- 
tunity of amusement escape. On one occasion, when 
lying at anchor in the tropics, someone suggested fishing ; 
after the first fish had been caught many rods and lines 
were soon going. A would-be wit enlivened matters 
by tying an empty soda-water bottle on to a rather 
excitable man's line while he was away, which met with 
r success on the owner crying out, " I've got a real 
big 'un here " as he carefully played it to the delight 
of everyone. Shark fishing was .1 favourite sport, and 
three were caught and landed in one afternoon; one of 
them had thn e mall shai I. inside it. 

32 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

The band (very few ships had the good fortune to 
possess one) plays from 4.30 to 5.30 p.m., when Jack 
disports himself in Mazurkas and d' Alberts, and dances 
uncommonly well before a very critical audience. Some 
men are always busy at their sewing machines when 
off duty, making clothes for their messmates ; this they 
call " jewing " ; others are barbers, or bootmakers, and 
they make quite a good thing out of it. Now that 
masts and sails are things of the past, substitutes in 
the way of exercise are very necessary, particularly 
when living on salt food. Boxing is greatly encouraged, 
and if competitions are organised, men go into strict 
training and the greatest keenness prevails. A canvas 
salt-water bath is usually rigged, and is in constant 
demand with the younger men. The officers congre- 
gate in flannels on the quarter-deck playing quoits, 
deck tennis, or cricket ; some go in for doing Swedish 
exercises, Miiller, or club swinging, and, to finish up 
with, a party is formed to run round the decks. 

The Admiralty are extraordinarily good about dis- 
patching mails to our ships, but sudden and unexpected 
movements often make it impossible to receive them 
with any regularity. When war broke out everyone 
wondered how their folk at home would manage, whether 
money and food would be easily obtainable. In our own 
case we were moved from our original sphere of opera- 
tions, and did not get our first mail till October 19th, 
over eleven weeks after leaving England, and many 
other ships may have fared even worse. Again, our 
Christmas mail of 1914 was not received till six months 
afterwards, having followed us to the Falkland Islands, 

Life at Sea in 1914 33 

then back home, out again round the Cape of Good 
Hope, finally arriving at the Dardanelles. On this 
occasion one of the men had a pound of mutton and 
a plum pudding sent him by his wife ; it can easily 
be imagined with what delight he welcomed these 
delicacies, which had been through the tropics several 
times, as did those others whose parcels were any- 
where near his in the mail bag. It may appear a paltry 
thing to those who get their daily post regularly, but 
the arrival of a mail at sea is a very real joy, even to 
those who get but few letters. The newspapers arc 
eagerly devoured, and events, whose bare occurrence 
may have only become known through meagre wire- 
less communiques, are at length made comprehensible. 

Darkening ship at sunset is uncomfortable, more par- 
ticularly in the tropics, when the heat on the mess- 
decks becomes unbearable from lack of air. However, 
this is now much improved by supplying wind-scoops 
for the scuttles, fitted with baffles to prevent the light 
from showing outboard. Everyone sleeps on deck who 
can, risking the pleasures of being trodden upon in the 
dark, or of being drenched by a sudden tropical shower, 
when the scrum of men hastily snatching up their ham- 
mocks and running for the hatches equals that of any 
crowd at a football match. On moonless nights little 
diversions are constantly occurring. A certain officer, 
perfectly sober, on one occasion walked over the edge 
of the boat-deck into space, and then was surprised 
to find that he was hurt. 

The hardships and anxieties of the life are probably 
overrated by people ashore, The very^routine helps 


34 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

to make the sailor accustomed to the strange and un- 
natural conditions, nearly all of which have their humor- 
ous side. As is the way of the world, we on the coast 
of South America all envied those in the Grand Fleet 
at this time, in modern ships fitted with refrigerating 
rooms and plenty of good fresh food ; and they, no 
doubt, willingly would have changed places with us, 
being sick to death of the uneventful life, cold, rough 
weather, and constant submarine strain from which 
we were fortunately immune. Events took such a 
shape a few months later that those of us who were 
fortunate enough to be in the battle of the Falkland 
Islands would not have been elsewhere for all the world. 



When, with a roar that seemed to buffet the heavens 

Ami rip the heart of the sea out, one red flame 

Blackened with fragments, the great galleon burst 

A Minder ! All the startled waves were strewn 

With wreckage ; and Drake laughed : ' My lads, we have diced 

With death to-day, and won ! ' " 

— Alfred No yes (Drake). 

It has already been mentioned that the Car mania was 
ordered to search the Brazilian island of Trinidad (not 
to be confused with the British Island of the same 
name), which lies in the South Atlantic about 600 miles 
to the eastward of South America, and in about the 
same latitude as Rio de Janeiro. It was uninhabited 
at this time, and seemed a likely place for the Germans 
to use as a temporary coaling base ; they have never 
had any compunction about breaking the laws of 
neutrality if it suited their purpose. 

The following narrative is taken from the official 
report, supplemented by an account written by the 
author two days after the action from a description 
given him by the officers of H.M.S. Carmania. 

Land was sighted on the morning of September i.jili, 
I'M .}. A moderate brce/.r was blowing from the north- 

• l.ut it was a lovely day, with a clear sky and the 
sun shining. Shortly .itt< r 1 1 a.m. the masts of a vi 1 
observed, and on approaching Dearer the Car* 

36 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

mania made out three steamers, apparently at anchor 
in a small bay that lies to the south-west of the island. 
One of these was a large liner, but the others were clearly 
colliers and had their derricks topped ; they were 
probably working when they sighted us, and they imme- 
diately separated and made off in different directions 
before the whole of their hulls could be distinguished. 

The large vessel was apparently a liner about equal 
in size,* having two funnels which were painted to 
resemble those of a Union Castle liner. After running 
away for a while, the larger steamer, which turned out 
to be the Cap Trafalgar (though this was not known 
for certain till weeks afterwards), altered course to 
starboard and headed more in our direction. She was 
then steering about south at what appeared to be full 
speed, while the Carmania was steaming 16 knots on a 
sou'-westerly course. 

There could no longer be any doubt that she meant 
to fight, and the duel now ensued that has been so 
happily described by a gifted naval writer, the late 
Fred T. Jane, as " the Battle of the Haystacks." To 
my idea, it appears almost a replica of the frigate actions 
of bygone days, and will probably go down in history 
as a parallel to the engagement fought between the 
Chesapeake and Shannon. For gallantry, pluck and 
determination it certainly bears comparison with many 
of these actions of the past. 

About noon she fired a single shot across the enemy's 

* Carmania, Cunard S.S. Co. — 19,524 tons, 650 feet long, triple screw 

Cap } Tw/aZga>-/Hamburg-Sud-Amerik S.S. Co. — 18,710 tons, 590 feet 
long, triple screw turbines. 

The Sinking of the Cap Trafalgar 37 

bows at a range of 8,500 yards, whereupon he immediately 
opened fire from his after-gun on the starboard side. 
This was quickly followed on both sides by salvoes (all 
guns firing nearly simultaneously as soon as their sights 
came on to the target), so matters at once became 

Curiously enough, the enemy's first few shots fell 
short, ricochetting over, and then, as the range decreased, 
they went clean over the hull, in consequence of which 
our rigging, masts, funnels, derricks, and ventilators all 
suffered, though the ship's side near the waterline — the 
principal anxiety — was so far intact. Some of the 
Carmania's first shots, which were lired at a range of 
7,500 yards, were seen to take effect, and she continued 
to score hits afterwards with moderate frequency. The 
port battery was engaging his starboard guns at this 
period, so that he was on her port hand, and a refer- 
ence to the plan will show that she was ahead on bear- 
ing. The range was rapidly decreasing since they were 
both on converging courses, but unfortunately the 
German ship had the speed of her, for the Cunarder 
could only do 16 knots, due largely to a lack of vacuum 
in the condensers. As far as could be judged the Cap 
Trafalgar was steaming between 17 and 18 knots. (See 
Diagram, p. 39.) 

At 4,500 yards, two of our broadsides were seen to 
hit all along the waterline. As the range decreased to 
1 yards the shot from the enemy's pom-poms (ma- 
chine guns), lired with great rapidity, began to fall like 
hail on and all round the ship ; this induced Captain 
Grant to alter course away with promptitude, thus open- 

38 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

ing out the range and bringing the starboard battery into 
play. The port 4.7-inch guns — they were all over twenty 
years old — were by this time wellnigh red-hot. That 
the enemy did not apprehend this manoeuvre was demon- 
strated by his erratic fire at this moment, when the 
Britisher was enabled to bring five guns into action to 
his four through being able to use both the stern guns. 
It was now that the German suffered most heavily, the 
havoc wrought in such a short time being very noticeable. 
He then turned away, which brought the two ships 
nearly stern on to one another ; two of his steam pipes 
were cut by shell, the steam rising into the sky, he was 
well on fire forward, and had a list to starboard. 

One of his shells, however, had passed through the 
captain's cabin under the fore bridge, and although 
it did not burst it started a fire, which rapidly became 
worse ; unhappily no water was available to put it out, 
for the fire main was shot through, while the chemical 
fire extinguishers proved of little use. All water had to 
be carried by hand, but luckily the fire was prevented 
from spreading over the ship by a steel bulkhead, to- 
gether with an ordinary fire-proof swing door, which 
was afterwards found to be all charred on one side. 
Nevertheless it got a firm hold of the deck above, which 
broke into flame, so the fore-bridge had to be aban- 
doned. The ship had now to be steered from the stern, 
and all orders had to be shouted down by megaphone 
both to the engine rooms and to this new steering posi- 
tion in the bowels of the ship, which was connected 
up and in operation in fifty-seven seconds ! To reduce 
the effect of the fire the vessel was kept before the wind, 


UOpm 4000" 

V.".V.V.35oqV."." ."."." ' ' "y^° ' 0pjn - 

M/fnimnm Bmiff 

40 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

which necessitated turning right round again, so that 
the fight resolved itself into a chase. 

The action was continued by the gun-layers, the 
fire-control position being untenable due to the fire, 
so each gun had to be worked and fired independently 
under the direction of its own officer. Among the 
ammunition supply parties there had been several 
casualties and the officers, finding it impossible to 
" spot " the fall of the shell, owing to the flashes from 
the enemy's guns obscuring their view from so low an 
elevation, lent a hand in carrying the ammunition from 
the hoists to the guns. In these big liners the upper 
deck, where the guns are mounted, is approximately 
70 feet above the holds, whence the ammunition has 
to be hoisted and then carried by hand to the guns — 
a particularly arduous task. 

Crossing, as it were, the enemy was at this time well 
on the starboard bow, but firing was continued until 
the distance was over 9,000 yards, the maximum range 
of the Carmania's guns. Owing to his superior speed and 
a slight divergence between the courses, the distance 
was gradually increasing all the time, and at 1.30 he 
was out of range. His list had now visibly increased, 
and his speed began to diminish, probably on account 
of the inrush of water through his coaling ports. It 
was surmised that there had not been sufficient time 
to secure these properly, for he had evidently been 
coaling at the time she arrived upon the scene. 

Towards the end the Cap Trafalgar's fire had begun 
to slacken, though one of her guns continued to fire 
to the last, in spite of the fact that she was out of range. 

The Sinking of the Cap Trafalgar 41 

It became patent that she was doomed, and her every 
movement was eagerly watched through field-glasses 
for some minutes by those not occupied in quenching 
the lire. Suddenly the great vessel heeled right over ; 
her funnels being almost parallel to the surface of the 
sea, looked just like two gigantic cannon as they pointed 
towards the Car mania ; an instant later she went down 
by the bows, the stern remaining poised in mid-air for 
a tew seconds, and then she abruptly disappeared out of 
sight at 1.50 p.m., the duel having lasted an hour and 
forty minutes. 

There were no two opinions about the good fight 
she had put up, and all were loud in their praise of the 
gallant conduct of the Germans. 

One of the enemy's colliers was observed approach- 
ing this scene of desolation in order to pick up survivors, 
some of whom had got away from the sinking ship in 
her boats. The collier had been flying the United States 
ensign, evidently as a ruse, in the hope that the Carmania 
might be induced to let her pass without stopping her 
for examination. It was, however, impossible to in- 
terfere with her owing to the fire that was still raging 
in the fore part of the ship. This kept our men at work 
trying to get it under, and necessitated keeping the ship 
running before the wind, the direction of which did not 
permit of approaching the spot in order to attempt to 
pick up survivors. 

Smoke was now seen away to the northward, and 
the signalman reported that he thought he could make 
out th>- funnels "t a cruiser. As the Cap Trafalgar, 
before sinking, had been in wireless communication 

42 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

with some German vessel, it was apprehended that one 
might be coming to her assistance. As the Carmania 
was totally unfit for further action, it was deemed ad- 
visable to avoid the risk of another engagement, so she 
steamed off at full speed in a southerly directidn. 

As soon as the collier and all that remained of the 
wreckage of the Cap Trafalgar was lost to view the 
gallant Cunarder was turned to the north-westward in 
the direction of the anchorage. She was unseaworthy, 
nearly all her navigational instruments and all the com- 
munications to the engines were destroyed, making the 
steering and navigation of the ship difficult and uncer- 
tain. When wireless touch was established, the Corn- 
wall was called up and asked to meet and escort her in. 
But as she had only just started coaling she asked the 
Bristol to take her place. The next day the Bristol, 
which was in the vicinity, took the Carmania along until 
relieved the same night by the Cornwall, which escorted 
her on to the base, where temporary repairs were effected. 

One of the enemy's shells was found to have passed 
through three thicknesses of steel plating without ex- 
ploding, but in spite of this it set fire to some bedding 
which caused the conflagration under the fore bridge. 
Where projectiles had struck solid iron, such as a winch, 
splinters of the latter were to be seen scattered in all 
directions. The ship was hit seventy-nine times, causing 
no fewer than 304 holes. 

There were 38 casualties. Five men were killed out- 
right, 4 subsequently died from wounds, 5 were seriously 
wounded and 22 wounded — most of the latter were 
only slightly injured. All the casualties occurred on 

The Sinking of the Cap Trafalgar 43 

deck, chiefly among the guns' crews and ammunition 
supply parties. No one below was touched, but a 
third of those employed on deck were hit. 

The following remarks may be of interest, and are 
taken from the author's letters, written on September 
16th, after having been shown over the Carmania : 

" When I went on board this morning, I was greatly 
struck by the few fatal casualties considering the number 
of holes here, there, and everywhere. Not a single 
part of the upper deck could be crossed without finding 
holes. A remarkable fact was that only one officer, 
Lieutenant Murray, R.N.R., was hurt or damaged in 
any way, although the officers were in the most exposed 
positions, and the enemy's point of aim appeared to 
be the fore bridge. 

' They had only three active service ratings on 
board ; some of the gunlayers were old men, pensioners 
from the Navy. 

" One of the senior officers told me that the first 
few rounds made him feel ' a bit dickey,' but that after 
that he took no notice of the bigger shells, though, 
curiously enough, he thoroughly objected to the smaller 
poms-poms which were ' most irritating.' He added 
that the men fought magnificently, and that the firemen 
worked ' like hell.' As flames and smoke from the 
fire on deck descended to the stokeholds by the ventilators 
instead of cool air, the states of things down below may 
easily be imagined. 

"One chronomel found to be going in spite 

of the wooden box which contained it having been burnt 

44 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

" The deeds of heroism were many. 

" I liked the story of the little bugler boy, who had 
no more to do once the action had commenced, so he 
stood by one of the guns refusing to go under cover. 
As the gun fired he shouted : ' That's one for the 
blighters ! ' And again : ' There's another for the 
beggars — go it ! ' smacking the gunshield the while with 
his hand. 

" Again one of the gunlayers, who lost his hand 
and also one leg during the engagement, insisted upon 
being held up when the German ship sank, so as to be 
able to cheer. I talked to him, and he waggled his 
stump at me quite cheerily and said, ' It was well worth 
losing an arm for.' 

" It is good to feel that the spirit of our forefathers 
is still active in time of need." 



" Then let hini roll 
His galleons round the little Golden Hynde, 
Bring her to bay, if he can, on the high seas, 
Ring us about with thousands, we'll not yield 
I and my Golden Hynde, we will go down, 
With flag still flying on the last stump left us 
And all my cannon spitting the fires 
Of everlasting scorn into his face." 

— ALFRED No YES (Drake). 

The wanderings of the German squadron in the Pacific 
have been briefly traced as far as Easter Island, where 
it arrived on October 12th, 1914, and found the Dresden. 
The Leipzig, which had been chased from pillar to post 
by British and Japanese cruisers, and succeeded in 
eluding them, joined up shortly after to the relief of the 
German Admiral. 

The contractor at Easter Island, an Englishman 
named Edwards, who supplied the Germans with fresh 
meat and vegetables, was a ranch-owner, and had no 
idea that war had even been declared. One of his men, 
in taking off provisions to the ships, discovered this 
amazing fact, which had carefully been kept secret, 
and informed his master. The account was not settled 
in cash, but by a bill made payable at Valparaiso. The 
1 nan squadron sailed for Mas-a-fuera a week later, 

the ranch-owner took the earliest opportunity of 


46 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

sending in his bill to Valparaiso, where it was duly 
honoured, vastly to his astonishment and relief. 

For the reasons already adduced, it seemed almost 
certain that Admiral von Spee would make his way 
round South America. That there was a possibility of 
his descending upon Vancouver and attacking the 
naval dockyard of Esquimalt is acknowledged, but it 
was so remote as to be scarcely worthy of serious con- 
sideration. The three Japanese cruisers, Idzuma, Hizen, 
and Asatna, were understood to be in the eastern Pacific 
at this time, and this was probably known to the German 
Admiral. The risk, too, that he must inevitably run in 
attacking a locality known to possess submarines was 
quite unjustifiable ; besides, he had little to gain and 
everything to lose through the delay that must ensue 
from adopting such a policy. 

The vessels engaged in the action off Coronel, with 
their armament, etc., were : * 

Names Tonnage 

A vmament Speed 


Good[Hope ... 1 4, 1 00 

2-9.2" ... 23.5 

... 1902 

Monmouth 9,800 

... 14-6" ... 23.3 

... 1903 

Glasgow 4,800 

... 2-6" ... 25.8 

... 1910 

Otranto (armed ... 12,000 

... 8-4.7" ••• 18 


liner) gross 

Speed of : 

squadron 18 knots. 

Names Tonnage 

A rmament Speed 


Scharnhorst ... 11,420 

... 8-8.2" ... 22.5 


... 1908 

* According to 

" Brassey's Naval Annual." 

The Action off Coronel 47 



Armament I 

Speed 1 


1 ... 

... 11,420 

8-8.2" ... 



... 1908 


... 3,200 

... 10-4. 1" ... 


... 1906 


••• 3.544 

12-4.1° ... 




X umber g ... 

• •■ 3.396 

10-4.1" ... 

8 2.1" 


... 1908 

Speed of s 

quadron 22.5 knots. 

It will be noticed that our two armoured cruisers were 
respectively six and five years older than the Germans'. 
Our armament was much inferior in size, number, and 
quality on account of the later designs of the enemy's 
artillery. The range of the German 4.1-inch guns was 
nearly equal to that of our 6-inch guns. But perhaps the 
greatest point in favour of the enemy was the fact that 
Cradock's ships, with the exception of the Glasgow, 
only commissioned at the outbreak of war, and 
had had such continuous steaming that no really good 
opportunity for gunnery practices or for testing the 
organisation thoroughly had been possible, whilst von 
s ships had been in commission for over two years 
and had highly trained crews, accustomed to their ships. 

The following account has been compiled from per- 
sonal information received from officers who took part, 
from letters that have appeared in the Press, from a 
translation that has been published of Admiral von 
I report, and from the official report made 
by Captain Luce of the Glasgow. 

Admiral Cradock, as we have seen, joined the re- 
mainder <>f his little >quadron with the exception of 

48 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

the Canopus off the coast of Chile on October 29th. The 
latter was following at her best speed. The squadron 
proceeded northwards, whilst the Glasgow was detached 
to Coronel to send telegrams, a rendezvous being fixed 
for her to rejoin at 1 p.m. on November 1st. 

No authentic news of the movements of the Germans 
was available at this time ; in fact, the last time that 
von Spee's squadron had been definitely heard of was 
when it appeared off Papeete and bombarded the town 
toward the end of September. That the enemy might 
be encountered at any moment was of course fully 
realised, but it was hoped that either the Dresden and 
Leipzig or the main squadron might be brought to 
action separately, before they were able to join forces. 
Time was everything if this was to be brought about, 
so Admiral Cradock pushed on without delay. The 
anxiety to obtain news of a reliable character may be 
imagined, but only the vaguest of rumours, one con- 
tradicting the other, were forthcoming. Reports showed 
that the German merchant shipping in the neighbour- 
hood were exhibiting unwonted signs of energy in load- 
ing coal and stores, but this gave no certain indication 
of the proximity of the entire squadron. 

Rejoining the British squadron at sea on November 
1st, the Glasgow communicated with the Good Hope. 
Our ships had recently been hearing Telefunken * 
signals on their wireless, which was proof that one 
or more enemy warships were close at hand. About 
2 p.m., therefore, the Admiral signalled the squadron 
to spread on a line bearing N.E. by E. from the Good 

* German wireless system. 

The Action off Coronel 49 

Hope, which steered N.W. by N. at 10 knots. Ships 
were ordered to open to a distance of fifteen miles apart 
at a speed of 15 knots, the Monmouth being nearest 
to the flagship, the Otranto next, and then the Glasgow, 
which was thus nearest the coast. 

There was not sufficient time to execute this man 
ceuvre, and when smoke was suddenly sighted at 4.20 

DIAGRAM 1. (Enemy sighted) 4. 20 p.m.. 

T t , t „ ^LEIPZIG" 



I Flag) sights smoke and * 

alters course to U 80 E Bay of COTonall 

towards it 

"OTRANTOY position was Lat.3B'23'S. 

P.M. to the eastward of the Otranto and Glasgow, these 
two ships were still close together and about four miles 
from the Monmouth. The Glasgow went alien I to in- 
vestigate and made out three German warships, which 
at once turned towards her. The Admiral was over 
twenty miles distant and out of sight, and had to be 
informed a- possible, so the Glasgow r< turned at 

full speed, warning him by wireless, which the Germans 
ired to jam, that tin.- enemy was in si Jit. 

50 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

The squadron reformed at full speed on the flag- 
ship, who had altered course to the southward, and by 
5.47 p.m. had got into single line-ahead in the order : 
Good Hofie, Monmouth, Glasgow, and Otranto. The 
enemy, in similar formation, was about twelve miles 

For the better understanding of the movements 
which follow, it may be stated that the ideal of a naval 
artillerist is a good target — that is, a clear and well 
defined object which is plainly visible through the 
telescopic gunsights ; the wind in the right direction, 
relative to the engaged side, so that smoke does not 
blow across the guns, and no sudden alterations 
of course, to throw out calculations. The tactics of 
a modern naval action are in a large measure based 
on these ideals, at any rate according to the view of 
the gunnery specialist. 

It is evident that it was Admiral Cradock's intention 
to close in and force action at short range as quickly 
as possible, in order that the enemy might be handi- 
capped by the rays of the lowering sun, which would 
have been behind our ships, rendering them a very 
poor target for the Germans as the squadrons drew 
abeam of one another. He therefore altered course 
inwards towards the enemy, but von Spee was either 
too wary or too wise, for he says in his report that 
he turned away to a southerly course after 5.35, thus 
declining action, which the superior speed of his squadron 
enabled him to do at his pleasure. The wind was south 
(right ahead), and it was blowing very fresh, so that 
a heavy head sea was encountered, which made all 

The Action off Coronel 


ships — especially the light-cruisers— pitch and roll con- 
siderably. It seems very doubtful whether the Good 
Hope and Monmouth were able to use their main deck 
guns, and it is certain that they could not have been 
of any value. This would mean that these two ships 
could only fire two 9-2-inch and ten 6-inch guns on 



Q 'mc.vmouth' 


aQ 'good hope" 

DIAGRAM 11 6 40 p.m. 

■ 14.800 yards- 

Wit - 200O V.n!-. 




the broadside between them, instead of their whole 
armanii nt of two 92-inch and seventeen 6-inch guns. 

There was little daylight lefl wh< n Admiral Cradock 

tried to close the Germans, hoping thai they would 

hallenge in view of their superior strength. 

At 6.18 Admiral Cradock inert a >l speed I" 17 km 
making a wireless message to the Campus, " I am about 
to attack enemy now." Both squadrons were now on 

parallel courses approximately, steering south, and 

52 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

about 7| miles apart. A second light cruiser joined the 
German line about this period ; according to von Spee's 
report the Scharnhorst was leading, followed by the 
Gneisenau, Leipzig, and Dresden. 

As the sun sank below the horizon (about 6.50 p.m.) 
the conditions of light became reversed to our com- 
plete disadvantage ; our ships were now lit up by the 
glow of the sunset, the enemy being gradually enshrouded 
in a misty haze as the light waned. Admiral Cradock's 
last hope of averting defeat must have vanished as he 
watched the enemy turning away ; at the best he could 
only expect to damage and thus delay the enemy, while 
it was impossible to withdraw. He had no choice but 
to hold on and do his best, trusting in Providence to 
aid him. In judging what follows it should be kept 
in mind that in the declining light even the outlines 
of the enemy's ships rapidly became obliterated, making 
it quite impossible to see the fall of our shots in 
order to correct the range on the gunsights ; on the 
other hand, our ships showed up sharply against the 
western horizon and still provided good targets for 
the German gunners. Von Spee in his report says 
his " guns' crews on the middle decks were never able 
to see the sterns of their opponents, and only occasion- 
ally their bows." This certainly implies that the upper 
deck gunners could see quite well, whilst we have in- 
formation from Captain Luce's report that our ships 
were unable to see the enemy early in the action, and 
were firing at the flashes of his guns. 

Accordingly, as soon as the sun disappeared, von 
Spee lost no time in approaching our squadron, and 

The Action off Coronel 53 

opened tire at 7.4 at a range of 12,000 yards. Our ships 
at once followed suit with the exception of the Otranto, 
whose old guns did not admit of her competing against 
men-of-war at this distance. The German Admiral 
apparently endeavoured to maintain this range, so as 
to reap the full advantage of his newer and heavier 
armament, for the two 9/2-inch guns in the Good Hope 
wire the only ones in the whole of our squadron that 
were effective at this distance with the possible ex- 
ception of the two modern 6-inch guns in the Glasgow. 
Von Spec had, of course, calculated this out, and took 
care not to close until our armoured cruisers were hors 
de combat. 

The Germans soon found the range, their fire proving 
very accurate, which was to be expected in view of the 
reputation of the Schamhorst and Gnciscnau for good 
shooting — the former had won the gold medal for the 
best average. These armoured cruisers concentrated 
their fire entirely on our two leading ships, doing con- 
sidi Table execution. In addition, they had a great 
stroke of luck, for in the lirst ten minutes of the en- 
gagement a shell struck the fore turret of the Good 
II pe, putting that 0/2-inch out of action. The Mon- 
muiith was apparently hit several times in rapid suc- 
ion, for she was forced to haul out of the line to 
the westward, and her forecastle was seen to be burn- 
ing furiously, but she continued to return the enemy's 
fire valiantly. This manoeuvre caused her to drop astern, 
and compelled the Glasgow, who now followed on after 
the Good Hope, to ea • peed to avoid getting into the 
intended foi the Monmouth. 

54 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

It was now growing dark, but this did not deter 
both squadrons from continuing to blaze away as hard 
as they could ; in fact, the fight was at its height ; the 
German projectiles were falling all round and about 
our ships, causing several fires which lit them up with 
a ghostly hue. The heavy artillery of the enemy was 
doing great damage, and it was evident that both the 
Good Hope and Monmouth were in a bad way ; the 
former sheered over unsteadily towards the Germans, 
returning their fire spasmodically, whilst the latter had 
a slight list and from her erratic movements gave the 
impression that her steering arrangements had been 
damaged. The results of our shooting could not be 
distinguished with accuracy, though von Spee mentions 
that the Scharnhorst found a 6-inch shell in one of her 
storerooms, which had penetrated the side and caused 
a deal of havoc below but did not burst, and also that 
one funnel was hit. The Gneisenau had two men 
wounded, and sustained slight damage. 

At 7.50 p.m. a sight of the most appalling splendour 
arrested everyone, as if spellbound, in his tussle with 
death. An enormous sheet of flame suddenly burst 
from the Good Hope, fighting up the whole heavens 
for miles around. This was accompanied by the noise 
of a terrific explosion, which hurled up wreckage and 
sparks at least a couple of hundred feet in the air from 
her after funnels. A lucky shot had penetrated one of 
her magazines. " It reminded me of Vesuvius in erup- 
tion," said a seaman in describing this spectacle. It was 
now pitch dark, making it impossible for the opposing 
vessels to distinguish one another. The Good Hope 

The Action off Coronel 55 

was never heard to fire her guns again, and could not 
have long survived such a terrible explosion, though 
no one saw her founder. 

The moon had risen about 6.30 p.m. and was now 
well up, but it was too overcast to see much. Accord- 
ing to von Spee the squadrons had closed in to about 
5,400 yards, which caused him to sheer off, fearing 
torpedo attack. It seems certain that although firing 
was continued it could not have been effective, for 
three minutes after the Good Hope blew up the Germans 
erased lire altogether. Shortly afterwards von Spee 
ordered the Leipzig, Dresden, and Niimberg — the last- 
named having joined the squadron during the action — 
to make a torpedo attack. 

The Monmouth ceased firing just before the explo- 
sion on board the Good Hope, and was then steering 
roughly N.W. It was clear she was on her last legs, 
as her list had increased and she was down by the bows. 
She now suddenly altered course to the N.E. in the 
direction of the oncoming enemy. Captain Luce was 
senior naval officer, being senior to Captain Brandt, 
of the Monmouth. He saw the Germans approaching 
and signalled the Monmouth at 8.30, " Enemy following 
US," but received no reply. Clearly there was no 
alternative left him but to save his ship, if he was not 
to make a needless sacrifice of his men, as it was obvious be could be of no further assistance to his doomed 
•it. In addition, it was essential that the Cuno/nts 
should be warned ID time to avert a further calamity, 
a task not so simple as it sounds, for the German- we 
jamming our wireless messages. It is said that when 

56 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

last seen the gallant Monmouth turned and made straight 
for the enemy in a heroic attempt to ram one of their 
ships. Von Spee reports that the Niirnberg sank the 
Monmouth at 9.28 p.m. by bombardment at point- 
blank range ; this accounts for the seventy-five flashes 
of gunfire as well as the play of the beams of a search- 
light, which were observed by the Glasgow after leaving 
the scene of action. It must have been brutal work. 

Thus perished Admiral Cradock together with 1,600 
gallant officers and men. In fairness to the Germans 
it should be stated that our own officers considered it 
too rough for boats to be lowered with any safety. 

The Glasgow had been subjected to the combined 
fire of the Leipzig and Dresden, whose gunnery was 
fortunately not very effective owing to the long range 
maintained between the two squadrons before the 
light failed. That she had withstood this combined 
onslaught for fifty-two minutes (von Spee's report) was 
remarkable, but that she had suffered no material damage 
was little short of a miracle. Her casualties amounted 
to four men slightly wounded. She was hit five times, 
on or near the water line, but not in vital places. The 
protection afforded by the coal in her bunkers saved her 
on three occasions, as otherwise in the nasty sea running 
at the time she would have found herself in a very pre- 
carious position. Of the remaining two hits, one pene- 
trated the deck but did not explode, while the other 
wrecked the captain's pantry and cabin. There was one 
large hole, which luckily did not prevent her eluding her 
pursuers at high speed by steering out to the W.N.W., 
and thence in a wide circle to the southward to the 

The Action off Coronel 57 

Magellan Strait?, finally arriving at Port Stanley in the 
Falkland Islands. 

At the outset of the engagement the Good Hope 
made a signal down the line to the Otranto, the only 
words received being, " Leaving Otranto." The latter, 
therefore, hauled out to endeavour to get this signal 
direct from the flagship, but as the Good Hope had been 
badly hit, nothing further was received. As projectiles 
were falling all round her, and it was realised that the 
Otranto, being a large ship, would be used by the enemy 
as a rangefinder to enable him to calculate the distance 
of the Glasgow, she hauled out still farther to upset the 
accuracy of his gun-fire. The enemy proceeded to carry 
this method of ranging into effect ; the first salvo passed 
over the Otranto' s bridge, the second missed the bows by 
50 yards, the third fell 150 yards astern, while others 
which followed fell, some over, some short. By this time 
she had worked out of the line about 1,200 yards, so 
turned to the same course, as far as could be judged, 
as the remainder of the squadron. She was now out 
of range. The Otranto ran the gauntlet of the enemy's 
fire most successfully, since she emerged from this 
storm of shell quite unscathed, but it must have been 
touch and go. Moreover — and hardest of all — she had 
to submit to this treatment without being in a position 
to retaliate. After the flagship blew up, nothing was 
seen of the Monmouth ; subsequently the Glasgow was 
reported cro -u^a her stern. Seeing that she could be 
of no assistance, the Otranto dodged her opponents 
by steaming hill speed to the westward for 200 miles, 
and then e to the southward. Rounding ( ape Horn, 

58 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

she passed between the Falklands and the mainland 
and arrived at Montevideo. Both she and the Glasgow 
must have accounted themselves most fortunate in 
escaping safely from this unequal contest. 

The Canopus, which had been steaming northward 
with two colliers, intercepted a wireless message from 
the Glasgow to the Good Hope reporting the enemy in 
sight. She immediately increased to her full speed, 
dispatching the colliers to Juan Fernandez, and pro- 
ceeded on her course northward in the hope that she 
would arrive in time to engage the enemy. About 
9 p.m. she received a signal from the Glasgow that it 
was feared the Good Hope and Monmouth had been 
sunk, and that the squadron was scattered. Seeing 
the hopelessness of continuing on her course, the Canopus 
turned round, picked up her colliers, and made for the 
Magellan Straits via Smyth's Channel, the successful 
navigation of which reflects great credit, since she was 
probably the first battleship ever to make use of it. 
By this means she succeeded in reaching Port Stanley 
without molestation, although the German ships were 
constantly in close proximity. 

Admiral Cradock appears to have had definite orders 
to prevent the enemy coming round to the east coast 
of America. The Canopus was only 120 miles away 
when he met the enemy But had the Admiral waited 
for her the Germans might have slipped past him during 
the night, and, moreover, her slow speed would have 
seriously hampered the mobility of his squadron. Speak- 
ing of Admiral Cradock, Sir Henry Newbolt * says, 

* " Tales of the Great War " (Longrnans). 

The Action off Coronel 59 

" He had asked for reinforcements, and the Admiralty 
had sent him what they thought sufficient. It was 
not for him to hold back." 

The advantages of speed and modern guns of superior 
range were perhaps the outstanding features of the 
Coronel action. It was not the vain sacrifice which at 
first sight it might appear to be, as it probably saved 
our ships operating on the east coast of South America 
from a similar fate. 

Admiral Cradock carried out unflinchingly his search 

for a force which he knew would almost certainly be 

superior to his own. His unhesitating acceptance of 

the action and the gallantry of uie fight uphold the 

finest traditions of the Royal Navy, and will always 

be recalled by it with pride. Surely, before God and 

man, such deeds of heroism go far to mitigate the infamy 

of war. 

" At set of sun, 
Even as below the sea-line the broad disc 
Sank like a red-hot cannon-ball through surf 
Of seething molten lead, the Santa Maria, 
Uttering one cry that split the heart of heaven, 
Went down with all hands, roaring into the dark." 

Alfred Noyes {Drake). 



" And Drake growled, . . . 

. . . ' So, lest they are not too slow 
To catch us, clear the decks. God, I would like 
To fight them ! ' " 

— Alfred NOYES (Drake). 

Several disquieting wireless messages were received 
by the British warships on the east coast of South 
America, giving garbled and unreliable accounts of 
the Coronel action It was not till November 5th 
that a statement which appeared to be fairly authorita- 
tive, in spite of its German origin, was received from 
Valparaiso. It said that the Monmouth was sunk and 
that the Good Hope had probably shared her fate ; no 
mention was made of the Canopus, Glasgow, or Otranto. 
The command in these waters now devolved upon 
Rear Admiral Stoddart (flying his flag in the Carnarvon), 
who was still busily engaged in the search for the Karls- 
ruhe. His ships had been operating over a wide area 
extending from the neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro 
to the northward of St. Paul's Rocks and the Rocas, 
and thence to the westward along the north coast of 
South America. This otherwise fruitless search achieved 
one notable result in compelling the Karlsruhe to aban- 
don her system of obtaining supplies through German 
storeships coming from Pernambuco, as that port was 


Concentration 61 

kept under rigid observation. She was thus forced to 
leave the trade route between Great Britain and South 
America for longer periods in order to meet her con- 
sort, the armed liner Kronprinz Wilhclm, who now 
became a link between her and her sources of supply 
in Central America. There was, in consequence, a 
marked falling off at this period in the number of her 

Assuming that the worst had happened, and that 
the German squadron was now on its way round to 
the east coast, it became imperative to unite our re- 
maining ships into one squadron as quickly as possible. 
It was obvious that with the Australian and Japanese 
ships behind them, the Germans could not afford to 
linger where they were ; moreover, they had learned 
at Valparaiso that we had no naval force of any pre- 
ponderance with which to oppose them. Flushed with 
their recent victory, it seemed probable that if they 
were not much damaged they would most likely 
hasten their movements in the hope of meeting our 
ships before we had had time to unite or to gather 

The German squadron would not be able to separate 
with any safety once we had succeeded in joining to- 
gethei our scattered forces, so that the damage they 
might do to our commerce would be thereby reduced 
to a minimum. 

For tb us it will be seen that the River 

Plate was admirably situated for the rendezvous of 

our ships had escaped from Coronel to the Falk- 

, and ol the northern squadron. Again, it was 

62 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

possible to coal there without infringing territorial 
rights, as there is an excellent anchorage well outside 
the three mile limit from the foreshore. 

The following calculations, written on November 6th, 
1914, were made by the author : 

" The German Admiral will expect us to get rein- 
forcements out from England, so that it seems pro- 
bable that he will lose no time in coming round to the 
east coast. 

" He arrived at Valparaiso on November 3rd. Sup- 
posing he coals there and leaves at earliest on Novem- 
ber 4th, the distance from Valparaiso to the Plate 
is roughly 2,600 miles, or nine days at 12 knots ; there- 
fore, allowing one day for coaling en route, the earliest 
that he could be off the Plate would be the 13th, more 
likely not before November 15th." 

The strategical aspect in this sphere of operations 
was completely changed by the success of the German 
squadron off Cape Coronel, and necessitated not only 
a complete change of plans, but also an entire redis- 
tribution of our ships. These consisted of the Carnarvon, 
Cornwall, Bristol, Macedonia, and Edinburgh Castle, 
also the Defence and Orania, who were near Montevideo, 
and the Canopus, Glasgow, and Otranto. 

Admiral Stoddart, therefore, decided to go south 
to Montevideo at once in order to meet the remainder 
of our scattered ships. The Bristol, Macedonia, and 
Edinburgh Castle were left to continue the search for 
the Karlsruhe, although as a matter of fact she had 
blown up on November 4th. Colliers were sent down 
south to Montevideo to be in readiness for our ships. 

Concentration 63 

and were ordered to sail at twelve-hour intervals to 
diminish the chance of capture. 

The Carnarvon and Cornwall left the base on Novem- 
ber 6th, the former calling at Rio de Janeiro on the way 
for telegrams. Arriving at the Plate on the ioth, where 
we found the Defence and Orama, the Admiral immediately 
transferred his flag to the former ship, which was the 
newest and most powerful of our cruisers. All ships 
rilled up with coal and awaited the arrival of the Glas- 
and Otranto ; meanwhile, patrols were constantly 
maintained at the mouth of the river. 

The following evening the Glasgow arrived amidst 
congratulations from us all ; she had put in to the 
Falkland Islands to coal, in which assistance was pro- 
vided by volunteers from amongst the inhabitants. 
After coaling, she was detached to Rio de Janeiro to 
go into dry dock, so that the damage to her side might 
be properly repaired. The same day the Orama, whilst 
patrolling, met and sank the German storeship Navarra 
which was set on fire by the Germans when escape 
^,ecn to be impossible. We also got the cheering 
that the Emden had been sunk and that the 
Konigsberg had been bottled up, tidings winch augured 
well for the future. 

The Admiralty seem to have had a premonition 
that the Germans intended to attack the Falklands 
for the Canopus, although on her way north to Montc- 
>, was ordered back to the Falkland Islands in 
ord' c to fortify and arm the harbour of Port Stanley 
in ( i»n with the local volunteers, converting 

If ml'; a lloating fort. 

64 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

The possibility of our encountering and having to 
fight von Spee was the subject uppermost in all minds 
at this time, and led to a great deal of discussion. The 
outstanding feature in the situation was the extra- 
ordinary lack of homogeneity of the composition of our 
squadron. It consisted of three armoured cruisers of 
entirely different classes, each carrying a different arma- 
ment, one light cruiser and four armed merchantmen. 
The latter could not, of course, be pitted against warships 
even of the light-cruiser type, and therefore had to be left 
out of^the reckoning. Amongst the four fighting ships 
there were four descriptions of guns, viz. two 0/2-inch, 
fourteen 7 '5-inch, twenty-two 6-inch, and ten 4-inch, 
while the German squadron had only three descriptions, 
viz. sixteen 8 "2-inch, twelve 5*g-inch, and thirty-two 
4"i-inch. A prominent question, therefore, was what 
range we should endeavour tojnaintain during an action ; 
the answer to which was very varied, preference being 
given to ranges from 14,000 yards downwards. From 
the gunnery point of view the enemy undoubtedly held 
an advantage, as not only was his squadron more homo- 
geneous, having only two classes of ships, but also the 
range of his guns was greater. As regards speed, there 
was nothing to choose between the two squadrons, who 
were evenly matched in this respect. Much would 
depend upon whether he would choose to keep his 
squadron together for the purpose of an action or to 
disperse them on reaching the east coast. Opinions on 
this and on many other points were divided. All were 
agreed, however, that we ought to give a good account 
of ourselves. 

Concentration 65 

The wildest reports about von Spee's movements 
were constantly received from Chilean and other sources. 
Whilst at Montevideo rumours were circulated that the 
German ships had been seen coming round Cape Horn. 

The Admiralty now informed Admiral Stoddart that 
reinforcements were being sent out from England at 
once ; they had actually started just after our arrival 
at the Plate. The secret of this news was well kept, 
not an inkling leaking out at home or abroad — a fact 
which contributed very largely to our subsequent vic- 
tory. It was decided, therefore, to return northwards 
in order to effect a junction with the two battle-cruisers 
that were on their way out. The squadron sailed on 
November 12th, spread out in line abreast, and put in 
some useful exercises on the way. Arriving at the base 
five days later, we found the Kent, which was expected 
as we had heard that she was being sent out to reinforce 
us ; she had brought a mail, which made her doubly 
welcome. The Bristol and Edinburgh Castle rejoined, 
but the latter was ordered off northwards on other ser- 
vice, and sailed on November 19th, taking a mail for 
England. It was blazing hot, but the next few days 
passed quickly enough in carrying out gunnery prac- 
tices, patrolling, and coaling ship, during which the 
Glasgow returned from Rio, spick and span. 

Most of November was a time of some suspense for 
our ships, as we were hourly expecting an encounter 
with the enemy, and it was with mixed feelings that 
we learned of the nature of the reinforcements that were 
coming out with such despatch. Our feelings of relief 
were also tempered with regret at not having been 

66 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

afforded an opportunity to prove our mettle. Further, 
there was an awful and terrible thought that it might 
be considered necessary to leave one of us cruisers 
behind to guard the base. 

Most of our ships had had steam on their main 
engines incessantly since war broke out, and a rest to 
let fires out so as to make necessary adjustments was 
badly needed, but was quite impossible near a neutral 

On November 26th our hearts were gladdened by 
the sight of the Invincible, bearing the flag of Vice- 
Admiral Sturdee, and the Inflexible ; these two formid- 
able-looking ships had come out from England at a 
mean speed of over 18 knots for fifteen days. Truly a 
fine performance ! 



The various possible courses open to Admiral Count von 
Spec, both before and after Coronel, have already been dis- 
eased, but the movements of his squadron have not been 
subjected to examination in the light that they bear on 
the policy which he adopted, nor have the results of that 
action been considered from his point of view. 

The German squadron sailed from Mas-a-Fuera on 
October 27th, and three days later arrived about noon 
at a position some fifty miles to the westward of Val- 
paraiso, where it remained for upwards of twenty-four 
hours. On October 31st — the same day that the Glasgow 
wont into Coronel with telegrams and the day before 
that action was fought — the squadron steamed off 
south, leaving the Niimbcrg to wait off Valparaiso for 
a few hours and probably to get information of import- 
ance. The German Admiral undoubtedly went to the 
neighbourhood of Valparaiso with the express intention 
<>t obtaining news and was in communication with the 
shore, for he begins his official report on the action fought 
iron I by saying that his three light cruisers reached 
on November 1st a point about twenty " sea miles from 
the Chilean coast, in order to attack .1 British cruiser 
[Glasgow), which, according to trustworthy information, 
had reached the locality on the previous evening." 

It 1-, of course, impossible to know what were von 


68 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Spee's intentions at this moment ; they can only be 
surmised from a general survey of the situation and 
the means that he had of obtaining information. The 
latter was acquired by an organised system, for there 
were German agents in every South American port. 
It may be taken as certain that any ship calling at 
or passing Punta Arenas (Magellan Straits) would be 
reported to him, and that the names of the ships and 
certain of their movements on the south-east coast 
would also be known to him. 

Easter Island — which was von Spee's original base 
— is approximately 2,300 miles from Valparaiso, and 
therefore out of range of wireless communication, 
although it is possible he might occasionally be able 
to take in a message under favourable conditions. How- 
ever, it is known from an officer survivor of the Gneisenau 
that on October 19th the German Admiral received a 
message — possibly through a German supply ship — 
stating that a British Squadron consisting of " Good 
Hope, Monmouth, and Glasgow was to the south." Now 
we know that this squadron was at Punta Arenas on 
September 28th, and leaving on that date was employed 
searching inlets and bays round Tierra del Fuego for 
some days. The Good Hope then returned to the Falk- 
lands, finally leaving them on October 22nd, whilst the 
others went on to the coast of Chile and were there 
from October nth onwards, making use of a sequestered 
spot as a base. The Glasgow was at Coronel on October 
14th and at Valparaiso the day following, so the fact of a 
British Squadron being " south " was well known, though 
the information did not reach von Spee till the 19th. 

Possibilities and Probabilities 69 

On receiving this news von Spee sailed immediately. 
He knew he was in superior force to Cradock's squadron, 
and the presumption is that he went over to prospect 
and. if possible, to force an action. He went straight 
to Mas-a-Fuera, only remained two days to coal, and 
then on to a position off Valparaiso to pick up further 

Immediately on hearing that the Glasgow was at 
Coronel on the 31st, he proceeded south to cut her off, 
and, as was likely to be the case, to meet Cradock. He 
must have judged that the rest of the squadron could 
not be far behind the Glasgow. The probability was that 
he received information of the Good Hope passing through 
the Straits about the 24th or 25th, and he might also 
have heard of the Canopus doing so a day or two later, 
in which case he would have calculated that the latter 
could scarcely be so far north by this time. 

There is no indication that by this date von Spee 
had made up his mind to quit the South Pacific. He 
had hardly had time to make his arrangements for so 
doing, and there is no doubt that they were not then 

V< n Spee was at his full strength, having recently 

added the Dresden and Leipzig to the squadron while 

I land, he possessed the advantage of homo- 

:' -.', and his squadron was far more modern. The 

result we know, our ships were out-gunned and com- 

1. Fate played right into the hands 

of \ on this occasion. 

1 .1 undoubtedly blow to British pn 

in these parts, and the Germans in all the large town. 

70 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

were not slow in making the most of this temporary 
success in order to advance their own interests. The 
rumours that were circulated caused no little perturba- 
tion amongst the neutral shipping agents, who feared 
that von Spee would lose no time in attacking British 
trade, and that those cargoes which were consigned to 
Great Britain would be in jeopardy. Insurance rates 
rose with a bound, and it is said that the Germans 
went about openly deriding the British and causing 
the most fantastic articles to be inserted in the local 
Press. The exaggerated reports that were published, 
both of the action and of its effects, certainly lends 
colour to this source of information. 

It will be interesting to consider what von Spee 
would have done if he had missed Admiral Cradock and 
the action off Coronel had not been fought. In view of 
his superior speed, von Spee would in all probability have 
continued on his southerly course and rounded Cape Horn, 
leaving Admiral Cradock behind him. There seem to be 
grounds for supposing that he might go to the Cape of 
Good Hope, but the campaign in German South West 
Africa could scarcely be said to be progressing favour- 
ably for the Germans, and it is not unreasonable to 
suppose he would have preferred to go north along the 
eastern side of South America to harass our trade. It 
is legitimate to suppose that in this case he would not 
have delayed to attack the Falkland Islands, with 
Cradock's squadron on his heels and Stoddart's ships 
converging on him from the north ; in fact, it would 
have been suicidal, for the wireless station there would 
have given our ships warning of his approach, and the 

Possibilities and Probabilities 71 

delay might have enabled our two forces to unite. From 
Stoddart's squadron alone he had nothing to fear, and 
most likely would have welcomed an opportunity of 
bringing it to action. The presence of the Defence at 
Montevideo would certainly have been known to him at 
that time, and he would probably have hoped to intercept 
her before she joined Cradock. Had all this come to pass, 
the Germans might then have separated, and when it 
was found that the theatre of operations in the South 
Atlantic became too hot for them, they might have 
endeavoured to make their way home after doing as 
much damage as possible to our commerce. 

As events turned out, however, von Spee waited 
about at sea for a day or two after the action, appar- 
ently in the hope of either hearing news of the Good 
Hope or rinding her. Writing at sea on November 2nd, 
ays, in a letter that afterwards appeared in the 
German Press : "If Good Hope escaped, she must, in 
my opinion, make for a Chilean port on account of her 
damages. To make sure of this, I intend going to Val- 
paraiso to-morrow with Gneisenau and Niirnberg, and 
to see whether Good Hope could not be disarmed by 
the I lnKans." Writing under date of November 5th, he 
adds : " We arrived at Valparaiso this morning. . . . 
The new> of our victory had not yet reached here, but 
d very quickly." The squadron split up, it seems, 
arriving at different dates at Mas-a-Fuera, which be- 
« ame the temporary headquarters of the * rei man squadron 
for the next fortnight. Here all ships coaled in turn. 

imunical maintained by sending the German 

light cruisers into Valparaiso one after the other to 

72 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

get the latest information. The Leipzig was there 
somewhere about November 13th. This would show 
a proper caution on his part, as belligerent vessels cannot 
use neutral ports except at extended intervals. 

At Valparaiso von Spee must have obtained in- 
formation concerning the movements of our squadron 
under Admiral Stoddart, who had then just sailed north 
from Montevideo. He would also have probably been 
aware of the presence of the Japanese squadron operating 
in the Northern Pacific. 

In order to make the position clear, it must be 
apprehended that a squadron consisting of the British 
light cruiser Newcastle, together with the Japanese 
cruiser Idzuma, and the small battleship Hizen, was con- 
centrated in the North Pacific. The battle-cruiser 
Australia left Suva, Fiji, on November 8th to strengthen 
this squadron, so that it may be deduced that this was a 
direct result of the Coronel action which took place just a 
week before. She joined these ships on November 26th at 
Chamela Bay on the west coast of Mexico. The object 
of this squadron was to prevent von Spee from coming 
north, and to close on him should he remain on the 
western coast of South America. Sailing southwards, 
these ships visited the Galapagos Islands and then pro- 
ceeded on their quest for the enemy, the Newcastle 
searching the Cocos Islands en route. When nearing the 
coast of Colombia, the splendid news of the Falkland 
Islands battle was received, after which these ships 
split up and separated. 

In view of these various courses of action open to 
von Spee, the reader will appreciate how our minds were 

Possibilities and Probabilities 73 

occupied with the question of his future movements. 
Would he, in the hope of adding further to his laurels, 
attempt to repeat his success by going into the North 
Pacific to engage the Allied squadron there, which might 
have been inferior to him in strength ? Or would he go 
south and follow up his advantage in a direction where 
there was nothing to oppose him for the moment, except 
the Canopus and Glasgow ? He could not hope success- 
fully to combat all the different squadrons looking for 
him, nor, for that matter, did he wish to risk his ships, 
for there were no others to replace them. It was not 
his role to adopt such an offensive. He therefore chose 
to give the impression that he was remaining off Chile, 
and then suddenly vanished into complete oblivion. 
Leaving no trace of his movements, he was careful to 
forgo using all wireless ; and, having completed arrange- 
ments as to future supplies, he determined to appear 
suddenly where he was least expected. History repeats 
itself, and he evidently decided that the boldest plan 
was what would be least anticipated, and therefore 
most likely to be productive of success. 

Taking another point of view, it was obviously to 
von Spec's advantage to hasten round to the east coast 
of South America as quickly as possible after the action 
off Coronel took place, and thus to reap the full benefil 
of the success that he had already gained. He could QOl 
possibly have shut In I 1 the fad thai the immediate 

following up of his victory was the mosl promising 
policy for any scheme oi operations in the South At l.i nth . 
He would then have been able to strike before rein- 
ments could come out from England, which be 

74 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

must have been aware would be sent out to hunt him 
down. Why, then, did he delay a whole month ? 
On his own showing the repairs necessary to render 
his ships fit for further service only took a few days, 
and it would not take long to arrange for his future 
supplies on the east coast of South America with all 
the German shipping cooped up in this part of the 
world waiting to be put to any useful purpose. Is it, 
therefore, unreasonable to suppose that he waited in 
order to collect German reservists from Chile, either 
to garrison the Falkland Islands once they had been 
captured, or to take or escort them home to Germany ? 
He knew that he was really superior to the force under 
Admiral Stoddart, yet he delayed leaving till November 
26th, a period of nearly four weeks. The inference of 
which is that he was not ready, and further that a seizure 
of the Falkland Islands was deliberately contemplated 
and prepared for, and was to be his first step. An 
additional possible explanation lies in the deduction 
that he could not have estimated that he would have 
defeated Cradock so completely, and therefore took 
time to consider the altered situation before committing 
himself to a definite move, hoping in the interval to 
get more information which might lead to a further 
stroke of good fortune. The threat of the Australia 
and the Japanese squadron to the north was not suffi- 
ciently pronounced to force him to hurry. 

We have seen that it was almost out of the question 
for von Spee to maintain his ships in the Northern 
Pacific, but the conditions were entirely different on 
the west coast of South America. Here there were a 

Possibilities and Probabilities 75 

number of uninhabited anchorages where he could 
shelter, and he had a large German population to help 
him on the coast of Chile. In fact, he did maintain 
himself here until he knew that hostile forces were con- 
centrating and would move south to drive him out. 
Meanwhile, he had effected repairs to his ships, and 
had completed arrangements in advance for the supplies 
of his ships on the east coast of South America. Thus 
the conclusion appeared to be that there was no alterna- 
tive open to von Spee but to leave the Pacific, where he 
had already shot his bolt. 

Whatever the true explanation of his policy may be, 
the movements of his squadron point to his having 

i quite at a loss what to do next. His position was 
so hazardous and uncertain, so full of future difficulties, 
that he could not see his way clear for any length of 
time in order to work out any concerted plan. He 
was a fugitive pure and simple, and felt that whatever 
he did was in the nature of a venture. 

It was not till Cradock was defeated that he appears 
to have formulated his plan for attacking the Falkland 
1 -hmds. He then seems to have been carried away by 
the effect that the temporary capture of a British colony 
and the hoisting of the German Hag would have on our 
prestige throughout the world. He would have destroyed 
the • station, S< ized the coal and provisions lying 

there, and would then have had to abandon the colony 
llbsequent recapture. Had he originally contem- 
plated SUCh a dramatic coup, he would never have delayed 

Lomenl Longer than was m < essary. 

Keeping well away from the UbUal trade routes, 

76 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

the German ships sailed south, and on the way were 
lucky enough to meet the North Wales, one of Cradock's 
colliers. They arrived at San Quintin Sound on Novem- 
ber 21st, coaled, and stayed five days. Thence von 
Spee kept out for 200 miles from the land before turning 
south, and got into very rough weather. 

An officer in the Gneisenau states : 

" November 27th — Force of wind up to 12. Later the 
weather moderated a little so that we could proceed at 
8 knots. 

" November 2gth — Impossible to lay the tables. Broken 
up furniture thrown overboard. All crockery was 
smashed. Impossible to be on deck. Necessary to 
secure oneself with ropes. We are about off the entrance 
to the Magellan Straits. 

" December 2nd — Sighted two icebergs, appear to 
be 50 metres high. 

" December 3rd— We are lying at the eastern exit of 
the Beagle Channel close to Picton Island. 

" December 6th — We are going to Port Stanley." 

In judging von Spee's motives, it is as well to bear 
in mind that he attained no success whatsoever after 
Coronel except for the capture of two sailing ships and a 
collier. That our squadron under Admiral Sturdee, having 
only arrived the day previously, met him on his arrival off 
Port Stanley, was the turn of Fortune's wheel in our favour. 

As all the world now knows, the battle of Coronel, 
the greatest naval disaster that had befallen our arms 
in the war, was to be avenged five weeks afterwards, 
when the German squadron in its turn drank to the 
dregs the bitter cup of despair. 

Part II 

Plan of Action between the 
Battle Cruisers "WVINCIBLE"&'lNFL£XIBLE 
and the German Armoured Cruisers 
i h M.s" invincible" "scharnhorst'&'gneisenau" 
December 8W1914. 

"inmncible's Course 
Enemy's Course 

J Full Rigged Sailing Ship 

yl 2500 « x 

XNEISENAU&, foremost 
'•j5 {Tunnel, shot, away 
-ffZatttfrr*3^> i0000 x _ 

'■?» between 3ro&4"> 
'Hiitdnng or 0f6 2 . funnels 



V? Tunnel shot away 

yj '30 

Enemy a/co in succession 
to Starboard 
U 4 "SCHARNHORSTlistmg to Port 

"GNEISENAU "still firing all guns 

( jLat.52°4o'S.f 
|Long.5G°20 W. j 



" Into the golden West, across the broad 
Atlantic once again. ' For I will show,' 
Said Drake, ' that Englishmen henceforth will sail 
Old ocean where they will.' 

— Alfred Noyes {Drakt). 

The two battle-cruisers looked very businesslike as 
they steamed up to the anchorage ; t|ieir trip out had 
taken off a good deal of paint, and they presented some- 
thing of the appearance of hardened warriors returning 
from a spell in the trenches, as has been so well por- 
trayed by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather. To our joy they 
brought a small mail only three weeks old. 

No sooner had the rattle of their cables ceased than 
preparations for coaling were seen to be in progress. 

The same day, November 26th, the Defence sailed 
for Cape Town via St. Helena to join the flag of Rear- 
Admiral H. G. King-Hall. The Macedonia and Otranto 
had been sent to Sierra Leone some time previously 
to let out fires and examine boilers. 

British Squadron was now under the command 

of Vice-Admiral 1\ C. D. Sturdee, who held the title of 

1 mander-in-Chief, South Atlantic and Pacific. The 

Admiral's plan of operations possessed the distinctive 

good invention ; it was extremely simple 

. e understood. Roughly pinking, it was this. 


80 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

The squadron was to sail south to the Falklands, spread- 
ing out to extreme visual signalling distance and search- 
ing for the enemy's ships. All signals were to be made 
by searchlight, and wireless was not to be used unless 
it was absolutely necessary. The battle-cruisers were 
placed in the centre of the squadron, comparatively 
close together, with the double object of being able 
to concentrate quickly in any direction and of keeping 
secret their presence in these waters. Orders were sub- 
sequently given that, after coaling at the Falklands, 
the squadron would leave on December 9th, " in 
order to get round the Horn before the enemy comes 
East." The enemy was sure to be reported if he used 
the Straits of Magellan ; but it is believed that, to 
make doubly sure of not missing him, the Admiral 
intended to divide our squadron. Some of the cruisers 
would then have gone through the Straits, meeting him 
with the battle-cruisers somewhere in the Pacific ; by 
this means the presence of the latter would not become 

Sailing on November 28th, on a lovely calm morning, 
Admiral Sturdee must have indeed felt a proud man ; 
after years of labour in his profession, he had his ambi- 
tion realised by the command of a powerful squadron 
in war with a definite task before him. It consisted 
of Invincible (flag), Inflexible, Carnarvon (flag), Cornwall, 
Kent, Glasgow, and Bristol. The Macedonia, now on 
her way back from Sierra Leone, was to join us on the 
voyage south. 

On December 1st a report was received that " the 
German fleet was 400 miles off Montevideo " the pre- 

Away South 81 

vious evening, but no one believed it. The next day 
we left dinner hurriedly ; a signal was received, " Alter 
course together " to starboard 60 degrees. We altered 
and stood by for action, but it only turned out to be 
a British vessel — a false alarm which, however, was 
excellent practice. Information came through on the 
3rd that the German tender Patagonia left Montevideo 
during the night with stores for the German warships ; 
therefore presumably they were not far off. 

We arrived off Port Stanley on the morning of 
December 7th, and were piloted into harbour through 
a channel in the line of mines, which had been hastily 
constructed from empty oil-drums, and laid across the 
entrance by the Canopus. As there were only three 
colliers here, the ships were ordered to coal in turn ; 
the remainder, under convoy of the Orama, were following 
us down from the base. 

The Falkland Islands number about two hundred 
only two of which, East and West Falkland, are 
of any size. The coast line of both these islands is 
deeply indented and much resembles one of the Outer 
Hebrides. Devoid of all trees, the dark brown and 
green moors, relieved here and there by patches of 
granite quartz, look uninviting, but abound in pen- 
guins, hares, and sheep. Some of us, being unable to 
coal ship, landed on the day of our arrival and shot 
some hares and geese — a welcome change for the larder. 
It was the breeding season, and the penguin camps or 
rookeries were a striking sight ; on approaching them 
hundred-, would stand up and waddli: forward in a 
threatening attitude, making a terrible din in order to 


82 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

protect their eggs. So numerous are they compared 
with the inhabitants that the Governor is locally called 
the " King of the Penguins." 

The little town of Port Stanley, the capital, lies on 
the south side of the inner portion of a harbour on 
the east coast of East Falkland, and consists of two 
streets of houses, almost all, except Government House 
and the cathedral, constructed of timber and corru- 
gated iron. It is very much like one of the new small 
towns of Canada. The principal fuel is peat, which 
may be seen stacked as in Ireland. The population 
numbers about a thousand, and another thousand — 
mostly farmers and shepherds of Scottish origin — live 
out on the moors of the islands. 

During the summer the temperature averages about 
48 Fahr., and it is nearly always blowing hard, rain- 
ing, hailing, or snowing. Situated in a cold current 
from the Antarctic, the temperature only falls eleven 
degrees in the winter ; as a result, scarcely any of the 
inhabitants can swim, it being too cold to bathe. Owing 
to the absence of sun and summer heat, wheat, oats, and 
English vegetables do not thrive, but the colony is 
none the less remarkably healthy. 

When the news of the Coronel disaster reached 
them, the islanders were naturally much concerned for 
their safety. They had a volunteer corps of a few 
hundred men, which took to training most assiduously 
and quickly improved in efficiency. Every man was a 
good horseman and proficient with the rifle, but the 
corps were not sufficiently numerous to prevent a landing. 
A council of war was held by the Governor, at which the 

84 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

position was fully discussed. It seemed only too prob- 
able that the Germans would attack the Islands, and 
arrangements were made to send away from Stanley 
the few women and children. Stores of provisions were 
secreted within easy reach of the town, and the public 
money, official documents, confidential books, and 
valuables were either removed to a place of safety or 

This was the position when the Canopus and the 
Glasgow arrived on November 8th. Sailing the same 
evening, the Canopus, when half-way to Montevideo, 
was ordered by the Admiralty to return and guard the 

On November 13th a warship was sighted from 
the signal station at Port Stanley making straight to- 
wards the harbour from the eastward, an unusual direc- 
tion from which to approach. The volunteers were 
called out by the church bells sounding the alarm, and 
every preparation was made to resist a landing ; the 
Canopus on her part could get no reply from the wire- 
less station, so was only able to conclude that Port 
Stanley had fallen into the enemy's hands. When it 
was seen that the visitor was none other than the Canopus, 
the feelings of joy and relief were universal and knew 
no bounds. 

Most of the inhabitants buried all their worldly 
goods of any value, some using their back gardens, which 
are lightly fenced off from one another, whilst others 
even carried furniture some distance inland. Several 
amusing stories resulted. One of these Scots, from 
the window of his house, had watched his neighbour 

Away South 85 

burying a tin box, and had carefully noted its exact 
position. Being hard up, he scaled the fence that night 
and dug up and forced the box. Finding it contained 
sovereigns, he helped himself to a portion, replaced 
the box, and covered it over carefully with earth. A 
few days later, temptation getting the better of him, he 
paid his neighbour's garden another visit ; on the third 
occasion, however, he was caught red-handed. When 
brought to book his defence was that as they were 
such friends he had not taken the whole lot the first 
time, which would have been quite easy to do, but 
only a little just when it was needed to tide him over 
his difficulties. 

The Bristol, Glasgow, and Inflexible were ordered 
to coal as soon as we arrived, the remainder awaiting 
their turn. The Carnarvon, Cornwall, and Bristol were 
allowed to put fires out to clean boilers and make adjust- 
ments to the valves and machinery of the main engines, 
in preparation for a protracted sea voyage. The Mace- 
donia patrolled the entrance to the harbour, the Kent 
being ordered to relieve her at 8 o'clock the follow- 
morning. The Bristol and Glasgow, being of light 
draught, proceeded into the inner harbour, but the rest 
of the squadron anchored in the outer harbour, Port 
William, as will be seen from the plan. 

1 here is no telegraph cable to the Falklands, so 
that it was obvious the first point of attack by the 
iv would be the wireless station. To protect this 
ili' Canopus entered the inner harbour, forced hei i it 
aground on the muddy bottom, ,m<l moored taut head 
and stern in a position that would enable her to com- 

86 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

mand the southern approach. Here she was able to 
fire over the narrow neck of low-lying land, that at 
the same time served partially to conceal her. An 
observation station, connected with the ship by tele- 
phone, was set up ashore, with an elaborate plan for 
obtaining the bearing and elevation for the guns. Top- 
masts were housed, and the ship, masts, and funnels were 
painted all the colours of the rainbow in great big 
splodges to render her less visible. A look-out station 
was set up in Sparrow Cove, and three 12-pounder 
batteries were hastily constructed to dominate the 
approaches. The landing and placing of these guns, 
together with the digging of the emplacements, called 
for a great deal of hard work. Every credit is due to 
the Canopus for the admirable manner in which she 
dealt with the situation. 

Major Turner, who was in command of the Falkland 
Island Volunteers, was indefatigable in his efforts to 
prepare efficient land defences. This corps gave valu- 
able assistance to the Canopus, co-operating in the work 
of preparing the coast defences. Prior to the arrival of 
the Canopus, their only guns were a 12-pounder 8-cwt. 
field gun which had been lent by the Glasgow, and a 
few very antique muzzle-loading field guns. 



' And from the crow's iiest of the Golden Ilyude 
A aoaraan cried, ' By God, the ..hunt is up ! " 

— Au'RED NOYES {Drake). 

December Sth, 1914, was apparently to prove an ex- 
ception to the general rule in the Falklands, where 
it usually rains for twenty-one days during the last 
month of the year, for a perfect mid-summer's morning 
g ive every promise of a fine day to follow. The prospect 
of a busy day coaling, and taking in stores, brought 
with it thoughts of the morrow when we were to set 
forth on our quest after the enemy. The colliers went 
their round from ship to ship, and the rattling of the 
winches hoisting the coal inboard never ceased. 

At 7.56 a.m. the Glasgow fired a gun to attract the 
attention of the Invincible, who was busy coaling, to the 
signal of the Canopies reporting smoke in sight to the south. 

Shortly after 8 a.m. the officers in the Cornwall were 
all fitting at breakfast when the Chief Yeoman of Signals 
entered with a beaming face, full of news, to report that 
cruisers were in sight to the southward. The general 
opinion was that some Japanese cruisers were probably 
coming to join 11-, and attention was again turned to 
\>i< .1!;!. 

About 8.15 a.m. came a signal from the flag ship: 

Rai l for full speed, report when ready." Rumour 

had been so rife oi late that we still remained c< ptical 

88 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

until a few minutes later news came from the signal 
station on Sapper Hill that two hostile men-of-war 
were approaching from the southward, and shortly 
after that smoke was visible beyond these vessels. 

It afterwards transpired that a lady named Mrs. 
Felton, the wife of a sheep farmer living near Point 
Pleasant, in the south of the Island, sent her maid and 
house-boy to the top of a ridge to report everything 
they saw whilst she telephoned the sighting of the 
enemy's ships to the nearest signal station, from which 
it was passed to Port Stanley. She continued to send 
messages reporting every subsequent movement of the 
German ships. The three German colliers, two of which 
were sunk, were also first sighted by her and duly re- 
ported. She afterwards received a silver salver from 
the Admiralty in recognition of her prompt action, and 
her maid a silver teapot, whilst the signalman at Sapper 
Hill, Port Stanley, received £5 from Admiral Sturdee — 
a fact we had cause to remember later on, when fre- 
quent reports of " hearing distant firing," " sighting 
smoke," resulted in one or two wild-goose chases ! 

" Enemy in sight." What a thrilling message for 
us all ! We could scarcely believe our ears. " What a 
stroke of luck ! " was the general comment. But this 
was no time for ruminating ; deeds, not words, were 
required. At last " the Day " for which we had pre- 
pared had dawned. In very truth the hunt was up. 
The magic news travelled round the ship's company like 
lightning, and they fell in in record time — in spite of 
having to forgo some of their breakfast. The Invincible, 
Inflexible, and Carnarvon were in the middle of coaling. 

Enemy in Sight 89 

Colliers were cast off, and all ships prepared for action in 
case the enemy appeared off the entrance to Port William. 

As several of our ships had one engine down at six 
hours' notice, the bustle and activity in the engine 
rooms may well be imagined. We on deck naturally 
enough were soon ready, and chafed at the delay. 

The Kent wont out of harbour to reconnoitre, to 
report on the movements of the enemy, and to 
relieve the Macedonia. The enemy's two leading ships — 
the Gneiscnau and Nurnberg — were in sight and were 
approaching the wireless station, intending to wreck 
it. When near the Wolf Rocks they stopped engines and 
turned to the north-eastward. The bearing and elevation 
of the enemy ships having been telephoned from the ob- 
servation station, the Canopus, finding that the} T could get 
no closer, opened fire over the low neck of land at 9.20 
a.m. with her 12-inch guns, firing five rounds at a range 
of 12,000 yards {see page 83). It was the first time that 
most of us had heard a shot fired in a naval action, 
and it brought home very forcibly the fact that we 
should soon be tackling the job to which we had looked 
forward for so long. Hoisting their colours, the enemy 
turned away S.E. to join the main squadron, which 
headed out to the eastward. It afterwards transpired 
that the ' icrmans had seen the tripod masts of our 
hit tie-cruisers over the land, which probably decided 
von Spee in turning away from his objective. In one 
moment all his hopes "I destroying our Fleet -supp 
to consisl <»f Carnarvon, Cornwall and Bristol, ami pos- 
sibly the Canopus and Glasgow the wireless station, 
and then capturing the (<>l<>ny, were dashed to the 

go The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

ground. From survivors it appears that one of the 
Canopus's shells had ricochetted, striking the Gneisenau 
at the base of her after funnel ; it was also claimed 
that a piece of another hit the Niirnberg — good shooting 
by indirect fire at such a range, with guns of an old 
type and improvised fire-control arrangements. 

Officers of the Canopus, who were in the observation 
station ashore, saw through the telescope of their theo- 
dolite the men on board the Gneisenau fallen in on 
deck ; they could be distinguished, quite plainly, dressed 
ready for landing, in order to capture the wireless station 
under cover of their ship's guns. But when the Canopus 
opened fire with her first two projectiles they lost no 
time in scuttling away to their action stations. 

An amusing incident occurred on board the Canopus 
when the enemy first hove in sight. The stokers off 
watch climbed up inside the foremost funnel to see 
what was going on and sat round the edge, feeling quite 
secure as they knew the ship was ashore — hard and fast. 
They very soon came down, however, when they were 
informed that the boilers of that funnel were being 
lit up and the ship going to sea. 

At 9.40 a.m. the Glasgow went out to join the Kent 
in observing the enemy's movements. Five minutes 
later the squadron weighed, with the exception of the 
Bristol, who had all her fires out to clean boilers. She 
was ready three-quarters of an hour later, however, 
which must have constituted a record for ships of her 
class. The Carnarvon, Inflexible, Invincible, and Corn- 
wall proceeded out in the order named, the Inflexible 
ramming a sailing pinnace belonging to the Cornwall, 

Enemy in Sight 91 

half full of stores, on her way through the line of mines ; 
fortunately a barrel of beer belonging to the wardroom 
officers had previously been rescued ! The Macedonia 
was ordered to remain behind in Port William. It was 
wry clear with a slight north-westerly breeze — ideal 
conditions for a long-range action. 

The last of our line cleared the harbour about 10.30 
a.m., when the five enemy ships could be seen hull down 
on the horizon to the S.E., 12 to 13 miles off, steaming off 
in the hopeless attempt to escape. The signal " General 
chase " was flying from the Invincible, and the magnificent 
spectacle of our ships, each with four or five white 
ensigns fluttering in the breeze, all working up to full 
spued, will always live in the memory of those who 
witnessed it on that eventful day. 

The surprise and horror of the Germans at seeing 
our two battle-cruisers for the first time was testified 
by the survivors, who said, " They tried not to believe 
it." It must have been an awful moment finding them- 
selves suddenly face to face with almost certain de- 
struction. First of our ships came the little Glasgow, 
dashing along like an express train, then the two huge 
battle-cruisers going about 25 knots, belching forth 
volumes of dense black smoke as they made use of 
their oil fuel to quicken their fires, followed by the Kent, 
Carnarvon, and Cornwall doing about 22 knots. 

The Admiral reduced speed for an hour to 20 knots 
at 11. 15 a.m., to allow the " County" cruisers to catch 
up, for it wa.-, evident that we were rapidly gaining on 
the enemy, as we sped along on ;ui easterly The 

Glasgow dered to keep three miles ahead of the 

92 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Invincible. There was now an opportunity to get out of 
coaling kit and have a hasty wash. The ship's com- 
panies were consequently sent to dinner early, acting on 
the good old maxim that a man always fights better on 
a full stomach ; but the excitement was too intense for 
most men to have more than a bite, and they were 
mostly to be seen crowding about the ship's decks 
munching a hastily made sandwich. 

At 11.27 A - M - tne Bristol reported that the smoke 
of three steamers, enemy transports, had been sighted 
from the signal station at Point Pleasant to the south- 
ward of the Island, whereupon the Commander-in-Chief 
ordered the Bristol and Macedonia to destroy them. They 
arrived to find only two, both big colliers, the Baden 
and Santa Isabel ; the Bristol took off the crews and 
then sank the vessels. Half an hour later the Bristol 
learnt the news of the result of the action, and that the 
sacrifice of their valuable cargoes had been unnecessary. 
The Macedonia, who was first upon the scene, sighted 
smoke on the horizon, but could see no ship. Rumour 
had it that this third ship was the Seidlitz, and that she 
had a landing party of armed men and field guns on 
board, but this has never been substantiated in any way. 

The Glasgow was ordered back, and at 12.20 p.m. 
the Commander-in-Chief decided to attack the enemy 
with the battle-cruisers, whose speed was increased to 
25 knots. The enemy were steaming in two divisions 
in quarter-line, first the Gneisenau and Niirnberg on 
the left of the line, then the Schamhorst (flag), Dresden, 
and Leipzig ; the latter being astern of the remain- 
der of their ships, who were on the starboard bow of 

Enemy in Sight 93 

our squadron, became the first target. " Action " 
was sounded, and at once not a soul was to be seen 
about the decks, each man being busy at his appointed 
station. The Admiral hoisted the signal " Open fire " 
at 12.47, an< 3 eight minutes later the Inflexible fired 
at the Leipzig the first round of the action ; the In- 
vincible followed almost immediately afterwards. Both 
ships were now going their full speed, nearly 27 knots, 
and firing slowly and deliberately at the great range 
of 16,000 yards (over nine land miles). The huge 
columns of water, over 150 feet high, thrown up by 
our 12-inch projectiles, which weigh 840 lb., some- 
times completely blotted out the enemy target at this 
distance. Owing to the German ships being end-on, 
it was difficult to get the direction, but our shots were 
falling very close to them at times, and soon produced 
a drastic change in their movements. 

Admiral von Spee is said to have now made this 
signal to his ships : ' The armoured cruisers will 
engage the enemy as long as possible, the light cruisers 
are to use every endeavour to escape." Acting on 
this, at 1.20 p.m. the Dresden, the Niimberg — which 
one of our battle-cruisers claimed to have hit — and 
the Leipzig turned away to the southward, the posi- 
tion- of the -hips being roughly as shown in the plan 
(p. 94 . The Schamhorst and Gncisenau will be seen 
turning to port to engage the battle-cruisers, which 
iinultaneously on to a parallel course, whilsl 
the remainder of our squadron, except the Carnarvon, 
which presumably had orders to proceed with the Com- 
mander-in-4 hief, tnrn< d and gave chase to the Dresden, 

94 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Leipzig, and Numberg. The Carvarvon was, of course, 
unable to keep up with the big ships, and did not get 
into action until later ; she was now 10 miles astern, and 
altered course to port to cut a corner and join the Flag. 
All this while the " County " cruisers were coming 
along with all possible speed. The Glasgow was 
stationed clear of the battle-cruisers, which were 


8T? DECEMBER, 1914. 



Diagram showing <?*.. ^w 

position at 120p.m. "jjtf* 1 ii :Vg^ 
weather conditions excellent v t *%,» 

Wind N.W 

followed by the Kent, Cornwall, and Carnarvon. 
When the action commenced the crews of these ships 
had the most perfect view of a modern naval engage- 
ment fought at long range. As an officer in the Kent 
described it : "We were spectators in the front row 
of the stalls, as it were, so close that we could almost 
touch the actors on the stage, yet so far that no stray 
missile disturbed the comfort of our view. The best 

Enemy in Sight 95 

in the house at a performance of one of the few 
remaining spectacles which cannot be bought for money." 

Imagine a calm, smooth sea, the sun shining and 
not a cloud in the sky, the ship steaming at something 
owr 23 knots, and the men crowded on the turrets 
and in every available corner, tier upon tier, for all 
the world as if looking on at a cup tie at the Crystal 
Palace. ... It was a wonderful sight. The big ships 
buried their sterns in the sea, throwing up the seething 
water in their wakes as they dashed onwards. The 
bright flashes of their guns showed up strikingly, fol- 
lowed successively by the dark brown puffs of cordite 
smoke ; the seconds were counted until the reports 
were heard and huge columns of water thrown up by 
the splashes were seen. Many of the men had had 
friends in the Good Hope and Monmouth whose fate was 
fresh in their minds. " Give 'em one for the Mon- 
mouth ! " and " Go on, boys, give 'em hell — let the 
blighters feel what it's like ! " were shouted quite un- 
consciously, punctuated by loud cheers when a salvo 
pitched perilously close to the enemy ships. Of course, 
the majority realised our superiority, but those in 
authority must have felt a pride in such men who gave 
the impression they would face odds with intrepidity. 

The battle now divided itself into two separate 
engagements, the battle-cruisers and the Carnarvon, 
which were engaging the two enemy armoured enn 
and the Cornwall, Kent, and Glasgow, which gave chase 
to the light cruisers. Later, a third action developed 
when the Kent wenl after the NUrnberg. Each <>f the e 
will be taken in turn and described separately. 



" Are hell-gates burst at last ? For the black deep 
To windward burns with streaming crimson fires ! 
Over the wild strange waves, they shudder and creep 
Nearer — strange smoke-wreathed masts and spare, red spires 
And blazing hulks." 

— Alfred Noyes {Drake). 

A few minutes after the German light-cruisers turned 
away to the S.S.E. in accordance with his orders, Admiral 
Count von Spee, apparently deciding to accept the in- 
evitable, determined to try and close so as to get into 
the effective range of his 8.2-inch guns. With this in- 
tention, his two armoured cruisers turned in succession 
about 80 degrees to port, which brought them into 
line-ahead with the Gneisenau leading, and then opened 
fire at 1.30 p.m. But he had reckoned without his 
host, as this very obvious manoeuvre did not at all suit 
Admiral Sturdee's book, who was acting on the principle 
that ammunition is cheaper than human life, and was 
resolved to fight at his own chosen range. Our ships, 
therefore, eased speed to 24 knots, and turned together 
away from the enemy to port, which brought them at 
the same time into line ahead with the flag ship Invincible 
in the van. 

The two squadrons were on nearly parallel courses 
{see facing page 79) . The Inflexible had checked fire for 


The Battle-Cruiser Action 97 

a while, but now reopened on the Schamhorst at a 
range of 14,500 yards. Both the enemy ships concen- 
trated their fire on the Invincible at this time, whilst 
ours fired each at his opponent. The respective arma- 
ments are seen from the following: 

Name Tonn 



Armour Belt 

:ble ) 
Inflexible i " " 7 '" 5 ' " 

I2 *l 


f 1909 • 
" (1908 . 

. 7 to 4 in. 

I16-4* 1 

. 7 to 4 in. 

10,850 . , 

4-7-5* • 


. . 1903 . . 

7 to 4 in. 

r$ t ) 

> . . 11,420 

f 8 ~ S ~" ) 



6 to 3 in. 

• • &-5.9'[- 


Gneitenau ) 

[ 20-3.4* ) 

.. 1908 .. 

6 to 3 in. 

Compiled from " Brasscy's Naval Annual." 

As Admiral Sturdee edged away and did not 
allow the range to get below 13,500 yards, the fire 
of the Germans was not effective. A gunnery officer 
stated that their fire control was efficient, and 
that their salvoes, fired frequently, fell well together, 
the spread being about 200 yards. They had been 
firing about ten minutes when the Schamhorst went 
ahead and took the lead, so our ships changed 
targets. For a short time both German ships now fired 
at the Inflexible, but without result ; soon afterwards 
they again honoured the Invincible with their attentions, 
and, getting the range, scored their first hit about 1.45 
P.M. The range was now increased, spotting the fall 
of -hot became more and more difficult, and finally 
smoke interfered with our gunfire. At 2 p.m. the 
of the enemy was 16,450 yards. Ten min- 
later von turned right away and made a 

id • mpt to escape, a he had been unable 
1 to cl quarters. We turned gradually after 

98 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

him, but as he continued to turn away, in the words 
of Admiral Sturdee, " A second chase ensued." All 
firing ceased, and there was an appreciable lull in the 

Of the damage to the Schamhorst at this time 
no estimate can be formed, but survivors from the 
Gneisenau stated that they had three direct hits, re- 
sulting in fifty men being killed and wounded. To the 
uninitiated this may seem to be poor shooting ; but 
the difficulty of seeing clearly enough to make accurate 
corrections to the gunsights, the extreme range, and 
the disturbing effect of the enemy's fire must all be 
taken into account. Doubtless, too, there were several 
hits of an insignificant nature on the upper works and 
rigging that were not taken into account. It was 
impossible to tell at such a long range whether we scored 
a hit unless a fire resulted. 

The efficiency of the engine-room staff was now put 
to the test ; they nobly responded, with the result that 
our big ships attained a greater speed than they had 
ever done before. 

At this juncture a full-rigged sailing ship appeared 
on the port hand of our battle-cruisers ; she was painted 
white, and her sails were shining as if bleached in the 
bright sunlight ; with stunsails and every stitch of 
canvas spread she sailed majestically along, looking a 
perfect picture. So close was she that the Admiral was 
forced to alter his course to pass a couple of miles clear 
of her, so that the enemy's shell ricochetting should not 
hit her. Truly it must have been a thrilling and dramatic 
moment for her to find herself an involuntary witness 

The Battle-Cruiser Action 99 

of such a wonderful spectacle ! Imagine her consterna- 
tion at being plunged suddenly into the middle of a 
red-hot naval action between powerfully armed modern 
men-of-war, with shell falling in the water quite close 

The distance of the retreating enemy was rapidly 
decreasing, until at 2.45 p.m. Admiral Sturdee gave the 
order to open fire at a range of about 15,000 yards. 
Von Spec held on his course in the vain hope, apparently, 
of drawing us on, so that by a sudden turn made later 
he might " get to grips." Eight minutes afterwards the 
Germans were forced to turn to port towards us, forming 
into line-ahead and opening fire as soon as they came 
round. We hauled out once again on to an almost parallel 
course. The range had appreciably dropped, and was 
at one time under 12,000 yards. Things now became 
fasl and furious, shot and bursting shell were every- 
where- in the air, and our 12-inch guns were doing terrible 
ution. " It was like hell let loose," said a petty 
officer in the flagship, which was hit several times. The 
German gunnery was not nearly as good as it had been 
in the first phase of the engagement, whilst we had settled 
down to business and were, on the whole, more accurate 
than before. An officer in the Inflexible remarked that at 
tin time several of the enemy's shell fell between our 

hips, and that as his ship approached these yellow- 
green patches, he wondered whether the debatable 

a that do two projectiles ever hit the same spot 
would prove a< curate. 

'I!i rnhorst was badly hit al ; P.M., starting 

a hie forward, but she Continued to blaze away; the 

ioo The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Gneisenau also bore signs of the severe treatment she 
had received from the Inflexible. The Invincible now 
met with some damage, and suffered by far the most 
as the enemy's fire was naturally concentrated on 
her. The wind had increased, and was blowing the 
smoke across the guns, impeding our gunners, and the 
Carnarvon was coming up astern, so at 3.18 Admiral 
Sturdee executed a sudden manoeuvre by putting his 
helm over to starboard, turning completely around, 
and crossing his own track so as to steer roughly S.W. ; 
this put the enemy completely off the range, and also 
forced him five minutes later on to a parallel course, 
in order to avoid the alternative of being raked fore 
and aft. As both our ships had altered course together, 
their respective positions became reversed — the In- 
flexible leading — and they presented their port sides 
to the enemy {see facing p. 79). The Carnarvon cut 
the corner and came up on the off side of the battle- 
cruisers, in accordance with Admiral Sturdee's orders, 
as her guns were useless at ranges exceeding 12,000 
yards. The Scharnhorst, who had already had a bad 
hammering from the flagship, was now subjected to 
the concentrated fire of our two big ships for a very 
short time, during which the Gneisenau was lost sight 
of in her consort's smoke. At 3.30 p.m. the Scharn- 
horst' s fire had slackened perceptibly, and one shell had 
shot away her third funnel. 

The Invincible now engaged the Gneisenau, who was 
not nearly so badly damaged and was firing all her 
guns. In fact, all ships were at it as hard as they could 
go, but the Inflexible came off lightly on account of 

The Battle-Cruiser Action 101 

the plight of her opponent. The noise was indescrib- 
able, shell were hurtling through the rigging; when one 
actually struck and burst, the whole ship quivered and 
staggered, while the crash of steel plates falling, and 
splinters of shell striking the upper works, sounded like 
hundreds of empty tins being hurled against one another. 

The Scharnhorst was clearly in a very bad way, and 
looked, as she was, a perfect wreck. Masses of steel 
twisted and torn as if growing out in all directions 
like the roots of a tree, clouds of steam were going up 
sky High, and she was blazing fore and aft. The Admiral 
says, " At times a shell would cause a large hole to 
appear in her side, through which could be seen a dull 
red glow of flame." She was 14,000 yards distant. Up 
till quite near the end, however, she continued to fire in 
salvos, her starboard guns having only been in action 
since the last turn was made. At 3.56 p.m. the Com- 
mander-in-Chief decided to close in and give her the 
coup dc grace, which enabled the Carnarvon to get into 
action and open fire for the first time. By 4 p.m. both 
the Scharnhorst' s masts, as well as her three funnels, 
shot away, and she was listing heavily to port. 
She struggled on hopelessly and went over more and 
more, until at 4.10 p.m. she was on her beam ends. 
! seven minutes she remained in this position, her 
•ill going round, and then suddenly sank like 

tone, with her Hag still Hying. 

Shortly before the German flagship sank, our ships 

( h> ' ked lire and then opened on the Gneisenau. It will 

en from the plan of the action that at the time the 

Invincible turned two complete circles in a sort of figure 

102 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

of eight, the Gneisenau hesitated for a minute or two 
as to whether she should stand by her consort to save 
life. Under the impression, apparently, that our flagship, 
which had turned towards the Scharnhorst, was about 
to pick up survivors, the Gneisenau passed on the far side 
of the sinking ship and opened a heavy and well-directed 
fire on the Inflexible. We were now three against one, 
who was, nevertheless, determined to sell herself as 
dearly as possible. It was a gallant attempt. 

The distance was fortunately too great to see clearly 
the wretched survivors of the Scharnhorst left struggling 
hopelessly against their fate, but it brought the dark 
side of war very vividly into notice for the first time. 
A quarter of an hour after she sank the Carnarvon passed 
over the exact spot, but neither survivors nor wreckage 
were to be seen. 

The weather now changed, a light drizzling mist 
obscuring the former visibility. It was obvious that 
there could be only one end to the fight now in pro- 
gress, and that it could not long be delayed. At 4.15 
p.m. the Invincible opened fire on the Gneisenau, which 
shifted her target from the Inflexible and fired at the 
flagship with creditable precision. She was " strad- 
dling " the Invincible at 4.25, the range being about 
10,000 yards, so this was increased. During the next 
quarter of an hour our flagship was hit three times, 
but the German was taking terrible punishment. At 
4.47 she ceased firing ; her colours had been shot away 
several times, but she had hoisted them again and 
again. Now, however, no colours were to be seen, so 
it was only natural to conclude she had struck, though 

The Battle-Cruiser Action 103 

it was afterwards ascertained that she had no more 
left to hoist. Our ships turned to avoid getting too 
far off, when, to the surprise of all, she suddenly fired 
off a solitary gun, showing that she was still game. 
Unlike her late consort, which looked a perfect wreck 
for some time before actually sinking, she had to all 
appearances suffered very little. At 5.8 p.m., however, 
her foremost funnel went by the board. 

The carnage and destruction wrought in the Gnciscnau 
by our three ships were terrible, and it was astonishing 
what a deal of hammering she was still able to bear. 
That her casualties at this time were very heavy was 
ad doubt, as shell were to be seen tearing up her 
decks as they burst, while the upper works became 
a veritable shambles. It was not till 5.15 that the 
doomed ship, being badly hit between the third and 
foirth funnels, showed real signs of being in extremis. 
She was still firing, however, and even scored an effec- 
tive hit — the last one she was to get — about this 

At 5.30 she was obviously dead beat and turned 
towards our squadron with a heavy list to starboard, 
afire fore and aft, and steam issuing in dense clouds 
from all directions. Admiral Sturdee now ordered 
" Cea=e fire," but before the signal could be hoisted 
enau opened fire again, and continued to keep 
it up with her one remaining undamaged gun. This 
1 until it was silenced, when our ships clo 

in on her. The ensign Hying at her foremast head was 
hauled d >C'. bul the one at her peak was left 

Hying. Five minutes later she again hied, but only 

104 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

one solitary round, after which she maintained silence. 
The signal was made to cease firing immediately after- 
wards, when it was evident that her gallant struggle 
was at an end. 

She now heeled over quite slowly, giving her men 
plenty of time to get up on deck. At 6 p.m. our ships 
were perhaps 4,000 yards off, and the Germans could 
be seen gathering together on her " forecastle quarter 
deck." Remaining on her beam ends for a few seconds, 
during which the men were seen clambering about on 
her side, she quite gently subsided and disappeared 
without any explosion, although a film of steamy haze 
hovered over the spot where she sank. The bow re- 
mained poised for a second or two, after which she 
foundered at 6.2 in latitude 52 40' S., longitude 56 20' 
W., having withstood the combined fire of our ships 
for an hour and forty-five minutes. 

The sea was no longer quite calm, and a misty, 
drizzling rain was falling. Closing in hastily, every 
effort was made to save life, and boats were got out 
and lowered. This is no easy job after an action, as 
the boats are turned inboard, resting on their crutches, 
and are kept partially filled with water in case a shell 
might strike them and cause a fire. This water must 
first be drained out, then the weight of the boat is hoisted 
on to the slips to enable it to be swung outboard, which 
is not easy if the ship has been hit near the water-line, 
causing a list. Finally, several of the boats are certain 
to be riddled with shell splinters. 

A midshipman, describing the scene that followed, 
writes, " We cast overboard every rope's end we can 

The Battle-Cruiser Action 105 

and try our hands at casting to some poor wretch feebly 
struggling within a few yards of the ship's side. Missed 
him ! Another shot. He's further off now ! Ah ! the 
rope isn't long enough. No good ; try someone else. 
He's sunk now ! " 

The men, however, had not yet heard of the rough 
weather during the Coronel action, and still thought 
that the Germans might have saved our poor fellows 
there. Lines were thrown over with shouts of, " Here, 
Sausage, put this round your bell}-," and the like. Taking 
into consideration that it was estimated some 600 men 
had been killed or wounded, and that the temperature 
of the water was 40 , it was fortunate that as many as 
170 officers and men were rescued. The gallant Admiral 
Count von Spee, whose conduct bears out the best 
traditions of naval history, and his two sons, all lost 
their lives in the course of the day. 

A curious feature of this action was the terrific 
damage done by 12-inch lyddite shell. One of the 
(jneisenaus turrets was severed from its trunk and blown 
bodily overboard. Nearly every projectile that hit 
caused a fire, which was often promptly extinguished 
by the splash of the next one falling short. Indeed, it 
stated by the prisoners that the guns' crews in 
the German ships were frequently working their guns 
up to their knees in water, and towards the latter 
pari of the engagements wire unable to lire on 
account of the volume of water thrown up by shori 
shot . 

I be //.- incible had been hit about twenty-two times, 
but the lighting efficiency of the ship was not affected. 

106 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Eighteen of these were direct hits, two being below 
the water-line on the port side, one of which flooded 
a bunker and gave her a list to port. There were no 
casualties, however, amongst her complement of 950, 
The Inflexible was only hit directly twice ; she had one 
man killed and three slightly wounded. Her main 
derrick was cut in two, so that she was unable to use 
her steam boats. The few casualties speak more elo- 
quently than any words of the tactics adopted by 
Admiral Sturdee in putting to the greatest possible use 
the heavier armament at his disposal. 

The Invincible had some interesting damage. One 
8.2-inch shell burst and completely wrecked her ward- 
room, making a gigantic hole in her side. Two others 
hit the stalk of her after conning tower and burst, but 
did no damage to the inmates, who only complained of 
the fumes being sweet and sickly, leaving an unpleasant 
taste which, however, soon wore off. Another interesting 
case was the extraordinary damage done by a spent 
projectile falling at an angle of fifty degrees. Passing 
close under her forebridge, it cut the muzzle of 
one of her 4-inch guns clean off, after which it passed 
through the steel deck, through a ventilating trunk, 
through the deck below, and finished up in the 
Admiral's storeroom — side by side with the cheese, 
which put the finishing touch to its career. Another 
shell caused a nasty hole on the water-line, seven 
feet by three, which was found to be beyond the capa- 
bilities of the ship's staff to repair temporarily. The 
bunker had to be left flooded, all the surrounding bulk- 
heads being carefully shored up and strengthened until 

The Battle-Cruiser Action 107 

she returned to England. In "A Naval Digression"* 
" G. F." says : " On a part of the main deck one might 
have imagined for a second that a philanthropist had 
been at work, for there, strewn about, were a thousand 
odd golden sovereigns ; a shell had come through the 
upper deck, and, visiting the Fleet-Paymaster's cabin, 
had ' upset ' the money chest. It had then gone through 
the bulkhead into the chaplain's cabin next door, and 
finally passed out through the ship's side, taking with 
it a large part of the reverend gentleman's wardrobe, 
and reducing to rags and tatters most of what it had 
the decency to leave behind." 

The Commander of the Gneisenau was picked up by 
the Inflexible, and gave some interesting details. De- 
scribing the time when the Canopus fired at the Gneisenau 
and NUrnberg on their first approach to Port Stanley, 
he told us that he said to his Captain, " Captain, we 
must either fight or go faster," adding that in his opinion 
the day would have ended very differently had they 
come up boldly off the mouth of the harbour and bom- 
barded our ships at anchor before they were able to 
get out. There can be no doubt that the issue would 
have been the same, but the Germans might have been 
able to inllict some serious damage, especially to those 
ihips Lying nearest the mouth of the harbour, who 
would have masked the battle-cruisers' fire. However, 
his Captain elected to run, so they went " faster." 

During the action he had to go round the ship with 
the Ore-master, putting out any fires that were dis- 
re& Whilst going his rounds during the engage- 
• " E l'i Magaxin 

108 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

ment he found a stoker near one of the drinking tanks 
on the mess deck, who said he had come up to get a 
drink of water. The Hun Commander told him that 
he had no business to leave his post, and, drawing his 
revolver, shot him dead where he stood. 

A curious yarn is connected with Admiral Stoddart, 
who was in the Carnarvon. He had a distant cousin 
in the German Navy whom he had never met and about 
whose career he had frequently been asked in years 
gone by. This cousin of his was one of those saved 
by the Carnarvon, and when he got aboard he said, 
" I believe I have a cousin in one of the British ships. 
His name is Stoddart." To rind he was the Admiral 
on board that very ship must have indeed given him 
what the sailor terms " a fair knock out." He stated 
that practically every man on the upper deck of the 
Gneisenau was either killed or wounded, and that it 
was a feat of the greatest difficulty to climb across the 
deck, so great was the havoc wrought in all directions. 

Another officer, who was stationed in one of the 
8.2-inch turrets, had a remarkable experience. The 
turret was hit by a 12-inch shell, and he emerged the 
sole survivor. He then went on to a casemate, which 
was also knocked out and most of the crew killed. Try- 
ing a third gun, he was perhaps even more fortunate, 
as it was also hit by a 12-inch shell, and the same thing 
happened, but shortly after the ship sank and he was 
saved ! This hero was a fat, young lieutenant, who appar- 
ently drowned his sorrows the evening before he quitted 
the Carnarvon. Before retiring to bed he stood up 
in the mess, drink in hand, bowed blandly to everyone 

The Battle-Cruiser Action 109 

and said, with a broad smile on his fat face, " Gentle- 
men, I thank you very much — you have been very 
kind to me, and I wish you all in Hell ! " 

The wisdom of Admiral Sturdee's orders to the 
Carnarvon to keep out of range of the Germans was 
brought home by an officer survivor of the Gnciscnau, 
who said that they knew they were done and had orders 
" to concentrate on the little ship and sink her if she 
came within range ! " 

Upwards of 600 men had been killed or wounded 
when the Gnciscnau s ammunition was finally expended. 
The German captain " fell-in " the remainder and told 
them to provide themselves with hammocks or any 
woodwork they could find, in order to support them- 
selves in the water. 

A certain number of the German sailors that were 
rescued from the icy ocean succumbed to exposure and 
shock, though the proportion was very small. They 
were given a naval funeral with full military honours 
and were buried at sea the day after the battle. When 
the funeral service was about to take place on the quarter- 
deck of one of our warships, the German prisoners were 
told to come aft to attend it. On rounding the supcr- 
ture, however, the leading men suddenly halted 
1, brought up aghast with fright at the sight of 
guard of armed marines falling in across the deck, 
who were about to pay the last tributes of military 
honours to the dead. When ordered on, these terrified 
Hun- point blank refused to move, being convinced 
thai the Marine Guard was there in ord< 1 »1 them ! 



" War raged in heaven that day. . . 
. . . Light against darkness, Liberty 
Against all dark old despotism, unsheathed 
The sword in that great hour." 

— ALFRED No YES (Drake). 

It will be recollected that during the chase the battle- 
cruisers were firing at the Leipzig before the main battle 
with Admiral von Spee took place. This compelled 
the Germans to divide into two separate squadrons, 
since a direct hit from a 12-inch gun might easily prove 
fatal to one of their light-cruisers. Foreseeing that this 
manoeuvre was likely to occur, Admiral Sturdee had 
directed the Cornwall, Kent, and Glasgow to follow in 
pursuit. No time was lost, therefore, in giving chase 
to the enemy light-cruisers when they turned off to 
the S.S.E. at 1.20 p.m., the Glasgow leading the way 
at 26 knots, followed by the Kent and the Cornwall 
keeping neck and neck and going about 23! knots. 
The Dresden led the enemy light-cruisers with the Leipzig 
and N umber g on her starboard and port quarter re- 

In the ever-increasing distance between our two 
squadrons, the main battle could still be seen through 
field glasses, which made the necessity for turning away 
from a spectacle of such absorbing and compelling 


The End of the Leipzig in 

interest all the more tantalising. But there was solid 
work to be done, requiring concentration, thought, and 
cool judgment. 

A stern chase is proverbially a long one, and the 
difference in speed between our ships and the Germans' 
was not sufficient to justify any hope of getting to 
business for at least two hours, as the slowest enemy 
ship was probably doing 23 knots at this time. Every 
effort was now made to go as fast as possible, and the 
Cornwall and Kent had quite an exciting race as they 
worked up to 24 knots or slightly more — a speed actually 
exceeding that realised along the measured mile when 
• ships were new. The engine-room staffs on both 
ships " dug out for all they were worth," and the keenest 
rivalry prevailed. 

It was very evident that a long chase lay before us, 
for the Glasgow was the only ship of the three that had 
a marked superiority in speed to the enemy. The 
Cornwall and Kent were gaining very slowly but surely 
on the Leipzig and Niimbcrg, but were losing on the 

The <ncmy kept edging away to port continually, 
and about 2.15 we passed over the spot where later in 
thi day the Gneisenatt was sunk by our battle-crui 

About 2.45 p.m. the positions of the ships were as 
plan [see page 112). The Leipzig was the centre 
and rearmost ship, with the Dresden some four to five 
miles on her starboard bow, while the Niimbcrg was 
about a mile on her port bow. Both these ships were 
diverging slightly from the Leipzig, spreading out in 
I .1 f.ui to e cape being br< »ugh1 to action. 

ii2 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

The Cornwall and Kent were some eleven miles astern 
of the Leipzig, and the Glasgow was four miles distant 
on the starboard bow. 

As the Glasgow drew ahead she edged over to star- 
board in the direction of the Dresden. About 3 p.m. 
she opened fire with her two 6-inch guns on the Leipzig 


O (nag) 

ast Falkland Id. jf "INFLEXIBLE'^ & 

' OpePemtnta \ "CNEISENATffr & S W£§ ajr 

«,, C-in-C 


Diagram showing 
position at 2.45 p.m. . 
weather conditions not so good 
wind and rain from N. W. 

1 Sea mile=2 000 yards. 


"glasgoWq in , 
opened tire < , 8 



at 12,000 yards, in the hope of outranging her and 
reducing her speed, so that the Cornwall and Kent might 
come into action. The Leipzig, however, held on her 
course, and replied to the Glasgow's fire, though it was 
evident that she was at the limit of her gun range. 
The firing was spasmodic and not very effective. 

The Glasgow's speed was so much superior to that 
of the enemy that she soon closed the range very appre- 
ciably, and^ the Leipzig was seen t& straddle her with 

The End of the Leipzig 113 

her salvoes on more than one occasion. The Glasgow 
therefore altered course outwards,- at the same time 
tiring her after 6-inch gun, and then, having opened the 
range, turned up on to a roughly parallel course with 
the German. The duel between these ships continued 

The Cornwall and Kent were still keeping fairly level, 
and had closed in to a distance of about half a mile 
from one another. The chase continued, each minute 
seeming an age, as the range-finders registered the slowly 
diminishing distance of the enemy. The crews watched 
the proceedings from the forecastles with the greatest 
interest ; now and again a half-smothered cheer would 
break out when the Glasgow's shots fell perilously near 
the mark. When the bugle sounded " Action," the 
men responded with a spontaneous cheer as they rushed 
off at the double to their appointed stations. Their 
spirit was fine. 

Captain J. Luce, of the Glasgow, was the senior naval 
officer of our three ships, and at 3.20 p.m. signalled the 
Cornwall to ask, " Are you gaining on the enemy ? ' 
To which a reply was made, " Yes — range now 16,000 
Is." A quarter of an hour later the Glasgow ceased 
[or a while. Captain W. M. Ellerton, of the Corn- 
wall, now made a signal to the Kent: " I will take the 

tre target (Leipzig) if you will take the left-hand 
Siimberg), as we appear to be gaining on both of 
them." The Glasgow again opened lire on the Leipzig 
a1 ;. 45, bul her shots falling short, she very soon after- 
wards ceased fire. At 4.6 the Glasgow and I. a'/' 

I at one- another, and shortly afterwards the former 

ii4 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

was hit twice ; an unlucky shot, descending at a steep 
angle, killed one man and wounded four others. 

Captain Luce now found himself face to face with 
a difficult decision, which had to be made promptly- 
Was he to use his superior speed and endeavour to cut 
off the Dresden or not ? He decided to assist the Corn- 
wall and Kent in order to make sure of the destruction 
of the Leipzig and Numberg. At 4.25 p.m. the Glasgow 
turned to starboard away from the action and took 
station on the port quarter of the Cornwall, who had 
by that time come into action with the Leipzig. 

During this period the Cornwall and Kent had been 
gaining fairly rapidly on the Leipzig and slowly on the 
Numberg, though losing on the Dresden, who was easily 
the fastest of the three German light-cruisers. The 
latter kept edging away gradually to starboard, out- 
distancing her pursuers, and finally made good her 
escape without firing a single shot. 

At a quarter past four the Cornwall and the Kent 
opened fire on the Leipzig almost simultaneously at a 
range of 10,900 yards. The effect of this was that the 
German altered course slightly to starboard and was 
followed by the Cornwall, while the Kent went after 
the Niirnberg, as had been arranged. 

The Leipzig now directed her fire on to the Cornwall. 
At the outset we were astounded to find that her pro- 
jectiles were falling over us at this distance, but she 
soon found this out, and most of her splashes were 
well short for some minutes. As the range diminished 
the firing became more accurate, and it was possible 
to judge of its effect. It was not till 4.22 that the Corn- 

The End of the Leipzig 115 

wall scored her first visible hit, which carried away the 
enemy's fore-topmast, killing the gunnery lieutenant 
and disabling the lire control. The enemy thereupon 
altered course away slightly to starboard, at which we 
made a bigger turn in the same direction, so as to cut 
him off, as well as to cross his course the more rapidly 
in the event of his dropping mines overboard. This 
manoeuvre brought the range down to 8,275 yards at 
4.56, when he scored some hits. Captain Ellerton then 
turned away to starboard to give the enemy a broad- 
side, at the same time opening the range, which com- 
pletely upset the accuracy of the Leipzig's fire. 

The Glasgow took up her self-appointed station on 
the port quarter of the Cornwall (see Plan, p. 112), and 
the action developed into a running fight between our 
two ships and the Leipzig, who concentrated her fire on 
the Cornwall, which, however, had superior armament: 

Name Tonnage Armament Speed Completion 

9,800 .. 14-6" .. 23.68 .. 1904 

Glasgow 4,800 . . 2-6" 

10-4* •■ 25.8 .. I900 

3,200 .. 10-4. 1" .. 23.5 .. 1906 

I rom " Brassi y's N.t\ .il Annual." 

Misl and a light drizzling rain now set in, so 
we broke into independent firing on account of the 
difficulty of spotting the fall of shot. The range 
opened to 9,800 yards, and still we were being hit, 
which clearly showed the efficiency of the German 
4.1-mch gun. Our course soon took us out of range, 
so we again turned towards the enemy, ceasing fire 
from 5.12 to 5- 2 9 '' M - '' n was analogous to the in- 
I that occurred in the battle-cruisers' action, and 

n6 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

is significant ; both took place on the same day, and 
both were due to the same cause — namely, the idea of 
making full use of the heavier armament in our ships, 
and thus eliminating the risk of incurring unnecessary 

Shortly after 5.30 p.m. the Cornwall was hit no fewer 
than nine times in as many minutes at a range of over 
9,000 yards, so course was again altered to starboard, 
a broadside being fired as the ship turned. We con- 
tinued these tactics, closing in and firing the foremost 
group of guns and then turning out again as soon as 
we had got in too close, at the same time getting in 
broadside fire, by which we managed to score a number 
of hits with common shell. 

Fire was checked at 5.46, slow salvoes being resorted 
to on account of the difficulties of spotting. At this 
time a heavy thud was felt forward, which made the 
whole ship quiver ; a shell had landed in the paint room, 
where it burst and made rather a mess of things. No 
material damage resulted, and there was fortunately 
no fire. At 6.15 we started using lyddite instead of 
common shell, having again decreased the range. The 
result was stupendous, the dark smoke and flash caused 
by those projectiles as they struck could be plainly 
seen, and not long afterwards the enemy was on fire. 
His return fire began to slacken appreciably, though 
he still managed to get a hit every now and again. Cap- 
tain Ellerton decided to close and went in to nearly 
7,000 yards, turning and letting the German have it 
from the port broadside. 

It was now 6.35, and the news came through by wire- 

The End of the Leipzig 117 

less from the flagship that the Scharnhorst and Gneiscnau 
had been sunk. It passed round the ship like lightning, 
even penetrating the watertight bulkheads in some 
miraculous manner, and cheered up all hands tremend- 

Keeping the range between 7,000 and 8,000 yards, 
our ships continued to do great damage, and at 6.51 
the enemy was seen to be badly on fire forward. In 
spite of this he continued to fire with great spirit, and 
even registered a few hits between 6.55 and 7.45 p.m. 
Then his firing stopped completely, and it was observed 
that he was on fire the whole length of the ship. The 
scuttles showed up like a series of blood-red dots gleam- 
ing from the ship's side, the whole of the foremost funnel 
and part of the centre one had disappeared, the upper 
works were severely damaged, while smoke was issuing 
here and there. The ship, indeed, presented a sorry 

All this time the Glasgow, which was still on the 
quarter of the Cornwall, had also been busily engaged 
with the Leipzig, but at a greater range. 

We ceased firing at 7.10, thinking that the enemy 
would strike his colours ; but not a bit of it, so three 
minutes later we reopened fire with reluctance, though 
only for a couple of minutes. We closed in to 4,700 yards, 
turning 16 points in order to keep well out of tor- 
pedo range, and gave him a few more salvoes of lyddite 
with our starboard guns. The light was beginning to 
wane, and though twilight is very prolonged in flux- 
ions during the summi i", it would soon have 
been too dark to sec through the telescopic sights. At 

n8 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

7.43 an explosion took place on board the Leipzig ; 
three minutes later the mainmast went slowly over, 
and finally collapsed with a crash. We waited to give 
her an opportunity to haul down her colours and 
surrender, and then opened fire again just before 8 p.m. 
At last, at 8.12, the Germans sent up two green 
lights as signals of distress, at which we both imme- 
diately closed in, stopped, and proceeded to get out 
boats. Darkness fell rapidly, and searchlights were 
turned on to the enemy, lighting up the ghastly scene 
where men could be seen jumping clear of the ship 
into the icy-cold water. The Leipzig was heeled over 
to port, almost on her beam ends ; she only had a 
bit of one funnel left, and all the after part of the ship 
was in flames. The fire on her forecastle had also 
burst into flame. Thick clouds of white steam 
escaping, showed up against the dense black smoke, 
and increased the dramatic effect. Our little boats 
became visible in the beams of the searchlights, as they 
rowed round to pick up survivors. At 9.21 p.m. a 
shower of sparks suddenly announced an explosion, 
directly after which the Leipzig foundered. Several of 
our boats were holed, and we only succeeded in saving 
six officers and nine men between the two of us, all 
of whom, however, survived the extreme cold. They 
told us that before the ship was abandoned the Kings- 
ton valves had been opened. 

No further casualties had occurred on board the 
Glasgow since those already mentioned, as after joining 
the Cornwall she had not come under direct fire, although 
some projectiles intended for the latter did hit her. 

The End of the Leipzig 119 

The Cornwall was even more fortunate in having no 
casualties at all except, for a solitary pet canary, in 
spite of having eighteen direct hits not counting splinter 
holes, of which there were forty-two in one funnel alone. 
This absence of casualties, which was also a feature 
of the battle-cruiser action, speaks for the efficient 
handling of the ship by Captain Ellerton. 

Survivors stated that von Spee was originally going 
direct to the Plate to coal, but that having captured 
a sailing vessel full of coal at Cape Horn, he changed 
his plans and decided to attack the Falkland Islands. 
It was also stated that the Leipzig had a large amount 
of gold on board. 

One of the survivors rescued by the Cornwall was 
a naval reservist, who in time of peace had occupied 
the post of German interpreter to the Law Courts at 
Sydney, in Australia. When hauled into the boat the first 
words he used as soon as he had recovered his breath 
were : " It's bloody cold " in a perfect English accent. 
It is a well-known fact that sailors rarely make use of 
bad language, and the bowman who had hauled him 
out of the water is said to have fainted ! Evidently the 
language of the Law leaves much to be desired. 

The torpedo lieutenant of the Leipzig was amongst 

■ saved by the Cornwall. When brought along- 

shausted to clamber up the ship's side 

unaided, but when he reached the upper deck be pulled 

him ther and stood to attention, saluting our 

When he came into the ward- 

. cplained thai lie had been on board 

before a.-> a guest at dinner at the tunc that the ship 

120 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

paid a visit to Kiel for the regatta in 1909, adding that 
he little expected then that his next visit would take 
place under such tragic circumstances. 

This officer surprised us all by suddenly asking when 
the Cornwall had had bigger guns put into her, and 
went on to say that when we fired our " big guns " — 
meaning when we started to use lyddite shell — the 
damage was appalling, arms and legs were to be seen 
all along the decks, and each shell that burst started 
a fire. He went on to say that the Cornwall's firing 
was very effective and accurate, but doubtless most 
of the prisoners told their captors the same thing. We 
explained that the armament had not been changed 
since the ship was originally built. He also told us 
that the German captain had assembled all the ship's 
company when their 1,800 rounds of ammunition were 
expended, and said, " There is the ensign, and any man 
who wishes may go and haul it down, but I will not 
do so." Not a soul moved to carry out the suggestion, 
but about fifty men, having obtained permission, jumped 
overboard and must have perished from the cold. 
There were only eighteen left alive on board at the 
end, so far as he could judge, and of these sixteen 
were saved. All the officers carried whistles, which 
accounted for their being located in the water so 

The prisoners naturally wished to glorify themselves, 
their captain, and their shipmates in the eyes of their 
fellow-countrymen, before whom they knew that these 
stories would eventually be repeated. Therefore these 
yarns about the ensign, the men jumping overboard, 

The End of the Leipzig 121 

and the opening of the Kingston valves must be taken 
with a grain of salt. 

The Cornwall had one or two interesting examples 
of the damage done to a ship by modern high-explosive 
shell. The most serious was a shell that must have 
exploded on the water-line, as the ship was rolling, 
for the side was afterwards found to be indented 
5 inches at a position 5 to 6 feet below the water-line, 
and consequently below the armoured belt, a cross 
bulkhead being at the precise point of impact. Curious 
as it may appear, even the paint was untouched, and 
there was no sign of a direct hit from outboard, except 
for the bulge that remained and the starting of a good 
many rivets from their sockets. The cross bulkhead 
behind was buckled up like corrugated iron, and the 
coal bunkers, which had been empty, were flooded, 
giving the ship a heavy list. When we got into Port 
William we managed to keel the ship sufficiently to 
enable our carpenters to get at the leak, and they suc- 
ceeded in completely stopping it in two days, working 
day and night — a line performance, for which Mr. 
•rd, the carpenter, received the D.S.C., whilst his 
staff were personally congratulated by the Commander- 

Another shell passed through the steel depression 
rail of the after 6-inch turret, by which it was deflected 
through the deck at the junction of two cabin bulk- 
Is; it next penetrated the deck below and finally 
burst on the ship's side, causing a large hole. An amus- 
ing incident was connected with this. The projectile 
cut a fire-hose in half, the business end of which was 

i22 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

carried down the hole into one of the officer's cabins, 
where it continued to pump in water for the remainder 
of the action. At the end of the day this officer found 
all his belongings, including his full dress and cocked 
hat, floating about in two or three feet of water. 

Another officer was seated on a box in the ammuni- 
tion passage waiting for the wounded, when a shell 
struck the ship's side close by him, the concussion 
knocking him off. Getting up, he saw the doctor near 
by, and thought he had kicked him, so asked him angrily 
what the blazes he thought he was doing. It was not 
until after a long and heated argument that he could 
be persuaded to believe that he had not been the victim 
of a practical joke. 

In another case a shell shot away the fire main imme- 
diately above one of the stokeholds, which was flooded. 
Stoker Petty Officer W. A. Townsend and Stoker John 
Smith were afterwards both decorated with the D.S.M. 
for " keeping the boiler fires going under very trying 

It was mentioned before that some ships had leave 
to open up their machinery for repairs. The Cornwall 
was to have steam at six hours' notice, and had the low- 
pressure cylinder of the port engine opened up and 
in pieces for repairs when the signal to raise steam 
was made. Chief Engine Room Artificer J. G. Hill 
was awarded the D.S.M. "for his smart performance 
in getting the port engine, which was disconnected, 
into working order." It will have been noticed that 
the ship was steaming 20 knots two and a half hours 
after the signal to raise steam. This was a remark- 

The End of the Leipzig 123 

able performance, and reflected great credit on her entire 
engineering staff. 

A signalman, Frank Glover, was given the D.S.M. 
for " carrying out his duties of range-taker in a very 
cool manner during the whole of the action." He was 
in an entirely exposed position on the fore upper bridge. 

More has been said about the part taken by the 
Cornwall, as the writer was on board her, and most of 
the incidents described came under his personal observa- 
tion. They are, however, typical of the conduct of the 
officers and men in the other ships that took part.* 

* The ScyJliiz — the German auxiliary that escaped — took in the wireless 
signal announcing the victory and actually heard the firing of the Cornwall 
and the Glasgow on her beam about four miles off. She managed to escape 
under cover of the fog by steering to the south, but it was a near thing. 



" While England, England rose, 
Her white cliffs laughing out across the waves, 
Victorious over all her enemies." 

— Alfred No yes (Drake). 

We must now go back to the commencement of the 
action with the Leipzig. At 4.30 p.m., in accordance 
with a signal made by the Cornwall, the Kent branched 
off in pursuit of the N umber g and was soon out of sight. 
Thus a third fight developed through the high speed 
attained by the Kent, which enabled her to catch up 
and force action on the Nurnberg. The following 
description has been largely compiled from a narrative 
written by an officer in the Kent, while from 
the particulars undernoted concerning the ships two 
important features stand out : the speed of the two 
ships was nearly equal, and the German was built five 
years later than her opponent, and therefore should have 
been able to maintain her speed with less difficulty. 

Name Tonnage 

Kent 9,800 

Nurnberg 3,396 

" Brassey's Naval Annual." 

In the course of the afternoon the weather 
became misty, so that it seemed imperative to get to 


A rmament 






10-4. 1" 




The Sinking of the Nurnberg 125 

close quarters as rapidly as possible. That this was 
fully realised and acted upon is shown by what was 
written by an officer in the Kent : " In the last hour 
of the chase, helped by a light ship and a clean bottom, 
by the most determined stoking, by unremitting at- 
tention to her no longer youthful boilers — in short, by 
the devotion of every officer and man in the engine and 
boiler rooms, the Kent achieved the remarkable speed 
of 25 knots." 

Both ships were steering a south-easterly course 
at 5 p.m. when the Kent got within range of the Nurn- 
berg, which opened fire with her stern guns. The chase 
had in all lasted nearly seven hours, so the sound of 
the enemy's guns proved doubly welcome, since it 
brought home the fact that the German was now trapped. 
The fall of the enemy's shot was awaited with that 
eagerness combined with anxiety which only those 
who have undergone the experience can fully realise. 
Accurate ranges were hard to take on account of the 
abnormal vibration caused by the speed at which the 
ship was travelling, but it was expected that the enemy's 
first salvoes would fall short. But not a sign was to be 
seen anywhere of these projectiles. Where, then, had 
they gone ? 

Officers glanced round the horizon to make quite 
certain that the enemy was not firing at another ship, 
but nothing else was in sight. A light, drizzling rain 
falling, so that it was not till the third salvo thai 
the splashes were discovered astern of the ship. This 
bore out the experience of the Cornwall and din 
which had al been astonished at the Long range of the 

126 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

German 4.1" gun, which is said to be sighted up to 
12 kilometres (13,120 yards). 

Nine minutes after (5.9) the Kent opened fire at 
11,000 yards with her fore turret, but the shots fell 
short. Altering course slightly to port, she was able 
to bring her two foremost 6-inch on the starboard side 
to bear, making four guns in all. The light was poor, 
and both ships had difficulty in seeing well enough to 
correct the gun range at this distance. Thus this open- 
ing stage of the combat was not very fruitful of results 
as far as could be judged, though survivors subsequently 
stated that the Kent scored two effective hits, one of 
which penetrated the after steering flat below the water- 
line and killed all the men in it with one exception. 
On the other hand, the enemy (missing mainly for de- 
flection) only got in one hit during the same period. 

About 5.35 two boilers of the N umber g burst in 
quick succession, apparently from excess of pressure 
due to her strenuous efforts to escape. This reduced 
her speed to 19 knots, when all hope of averting disaster, 
even with the aid of several lucky shots, was shattered 
at one fell swoop. The Kent now gained very rapidly on 
her opponent, and all anxiety as to the chase being 
prolonged until dark was dispelled. 

Realising the hopelessness of continuing the attempt 
to escape, the German decided to fight it out, and 
altered course ten minutes later 90 degrees to port (see 
Plan). The Kent turned about 70 degrees to port, 
so that both ships were on converging courses, and 
able to bring every gun on the broadside to bear. The 
running fight was over, and the action developed during 


>^ Cease firt'^6 18 

eiAu. <A Action between HJtS'KENT' 

and German Light Cnuser ffUENBERG " 

off FALKLAND ISL4NDS December 5H> m 

^'pp™ "slow 

Direction at Wind WbX 23 

! '(2)540 



o iooo tto o xoo urn iooonm looo sooo loop t ypo Tarda 
"KLVrtfSpced 800 Yank perUmuU 


Ltd . Lonmm 

128 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

the ensuing quarter of an hour into as fierce a duel as 
it is possible to imagine, with the range rapidly de- 
creasing from 6,000 to 3,000 yards and all guns firing 
in succession, keeping up one continuous thunder. The 
Kent now started using her lyddite shell. As was only 
to be expected, a good deal of damage resulted. In 
a very short time a fire broke out near the German's 
mainmast, followed a little later by the fall of her 
main-topmast, which bent gracefully forward like a 
sapling, and then fell with a crash. Both ships were 
firing their guns independently, not in salvoes, and 
in consequence the sequence of the discharges was 
almost unbroken. A fearful din resulted, which was 
as loud as it was penetrating, and soon began to have 
an irritating effect on the nerves. The incessant clang- 
ing and clashing jarred horribly and gave the impression 
that the ship was being continually hit ; in fact, those 
below began to think that matters were not going too 
well from the constant concussions and severe jolts 
that were felt, until they were reassured by the optimistic 
and cheering bits of news passed down through the 
voice-pipes. The Kent's fore-topgallant-mast now sud- 
denly fell over, fortunately remaining suspended in mid- 
air by the stays ; a chance shot had cut right through 
the heel. 

From the rate of fire maintained at such a short 
range it was patent that matters would soon be brought 
to a finish so far as the Niirnberg was concerned. By 
6.5 p.m. her fore-topmast had disappeared, she was on 
fire in two or three places, and her speed was still further 
reduced. She turned away, as if to escape such heavy 

The Sinking of the Nurnberg 129 

punishment, the details of which could be plainly ob- 
served at this short distance. Her upper deck was a 
veritable shambles, and most of the guns' crews, only 
protected by gun shields, had been killed. In the 
words of one of the Kent's officers, " her foretop and 
foremost funnel were so riddled that they appeared to 
be covered with men " ; the torn and twisted steel 
sticking out in every direction caused this paradoxical 
illusion. Only two of her guns on the port side remained 
in action. 

On the other hand, the Kent herself had by no means 
come out unscathed. In addition to the hits already 
mentioned, there were many more that had struck the 
ship's side and boat deck on the starboard side, but no 
fires of consequence had taken place, nor had there been 
any hits on the water-line of a vital character. One 
of the enemy's shells burst just outside the midship 
casemate situated on the main deck. Only fragments 
entered, but there were ten casualties, most of them 
burns ; one man was killed instantly, and he remained 
in the same position after death with arms bent for 
holding a cordite charge. A small fire was caused, and 
the flames passed down the ammunition hoist to the 
passage below, igniting a charge which was hooked on 
• be hoisted. Had it not been for the prompt 
;n tion of Sergeant Charles Mayes, of the Royal Marines, 
complete destruction might easily have followed. With 
the greatest presence of mind, he immediately isolated 
the cordite charges in the vicinity, closed the sliding 
scuttle in the hoist, and at the same time ordered his 
men to run for the nearest hoses to flood the compart- 


130 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

ment. The fire was extinguished before it could get a 
hold, and for this brave deed he was awarded the Con- 
spicuous Gallantry Medal and an annuity of £20. 

The Niirnberg executed a sudden and unexpected 
manoeuvre at 6.10 by turning inwards as if about to 
ram her opponent. Continuing the turn, however, she 
eventually passed astern of the Kent and brought her 
starboard guns into play for the first time. During this 
manoeuvre, and while in an end-on position, two of our 
shells burst almost simultaneously on her forecastle, 
causing a fire and putting the guns there out of action. 

In reply to this manoeuvre the Kent turned to a nearly 
opposite course. It will be realised from the plan that 
the Kent was travelling well over twice as fast as her 
opponent at this time, and that her port guns were now 
brought into action. The courses of both ships were again 
roughly parallel, the Kent taking care to avoid getting 
on the beam of the Niirnberg, which would have afforded 
the latter an opportunity of using her torpedoes. 

From now on the distance between the two ships 
gradually increased. 

The German's fire was very spasmodic, and it was 
evident that she could not last much longer. By 6.25 
her engines were apparently stopped, for she was barely 
moving through the water. She was now badly bat- 
tered and scarcely recognisable as the ship of an hour 
and a half before. The Kent had to turn right round 
again to keep somewhere near her, and continued to fire 
at her with devastating effect. 

At 6.36 the enemy ceased fire altogether, the Kent 
followed suit, and for a short while awaited develop- 

The Sinking of the Niirnberg 131 

mcnts. Being now on tiro all along her fore part, the 
German ship looked a complete wreck, and showed 
not a vestige of life as she lay helpless on the water. 
She had a list, and was at a dead standstill. In vain 
the Kent waited for her to strike her colours, and so, as 
she showed no signs of sinking, opened fire once more, 
slowly closing and keeping well before her beam, firing 
at her with all guns that would bear. Not till 6.57 did 
she haul down her colours, whereupon all firing ceased. 

On examination it was found that nearly all the 
Kent's boats were splintered or smashed up by the 
enemy's fire, and there were only two that could be 
temporarily patched up in a short space of time. While 
the necessary repairs were in progress, the Niirnberg, 
which had been heeling over more and more, turned over 
on her starboard side, and in a deathlike silence dis- 
appeared beneath the surface at 7.27 p.m. Captain 
J. D. Allen, in writing of his men, says, " No sooner had 
she sunk than the Kent's men displayed the same zeal 
and activity in endeavouring to save life as they had 
done in fighting the ship. Boats were hastily repaired 
and lowered, manned by men eagerly volunteering to 
help. Unfortunately, the sea was rough and the water 
very cold, so we only succeeded in picking up twelve 
men, of whom five subsequently died." The search 
for the survivors was continued till 9 a.m. It is said 
that even the living were attacked by albatrosses. 

\\'hil<- the ship was sinking a few German seamen 
gathered at the stern and waved their ensign to and 
fro before going down with the ship. 

Kent was hit thirty- seven times altogether, but 

132 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

suffered no damage affecting her seaworthiness. Her 
wireless telegraphy transmitting instruments were 
smashed to pieces by a shell, which passed through 
the wireless office. She was thus unable to report the 
result of her action, and caused the Commander-in- 
Chief some anxiety regarding her fate. The receiving 
instruments, however, were intact, so all the wireless 
signals made by the Commander-in-Chief inquiring as 
to her whereabouts were taken in and read, though 
she was powerless to reply. The upper works on the 
starboard side presented a sorry spectacle, but the 
armour, though hit, was unpierced. Only two shots 
burst against the unarmoured part of the ship's side, 
one making a hole about four feet square just before 
the foremost starboard 6-inch gun on the main deck, 
and the other a hole of about equal size on the same 
side immediately below the after shelter deck. 

A German officer who was saved said that they had 
heard by wireless that the British had " blown up the 
harbour " at the Falklands, and had fled to the west 
coast of Africa ! He also stated that the Niirnberg 
had not been refitted for three years, and that her 
boilers were in a very bad state, which was borne out 
by some of them having burst during the chase. 

Each seaman 6-inch gun's crew had five Royal Naval 
Reservemen in it, and their conduct speaks volumes for 
the all-round efficiency of the men that the Navy has 
drawn from the Reserve during the War. 

The total casualties in the Kent amounted to 16 men, 
5 of whom were killed, whilst 3 of the wounded after- 
wards died of their wounds. 

The Sinking of the Nurnberg 133 

Commander Wharton, of the Kent, gives a remark 
ably realistic description of the closing scenes : "It 
was strange and weird all this aftermath, the wind 
rapidly arising from the westward, darkness closing 
in, one ship heaving to the swell, well battered, the 
foretop-gallant-mast gone. Of the other, nothing to 
be seen but floating wreckage, with here and there a 
man clinging, and the ' molly-hawks ' swooping by. 
The wind moaned, and death was in the air. Then, see ! 
Out of the mist loomed a great four-masted barque 
under full canvas. A great ghost-ship she seemed. 
Slowly, majestically, she sailed by and vanished in 
the night." This was the same ghost-ship that had 
appeared in the middle of the action fought by the 
battle-cruisers — a very fitting apparition, which up- 
holds the legend that one always appears at a British 
naval engagement. Meeting one of the officers of this 
sailing vessel later on in the Dardanelles, it was revealed 
that she had been out at sea so long that she was un- 
aware that war had even been declared, until she sud- 
denly found herself a spectator of two naval actions 
on the same day. 

A silk ensign, presented to the ship by the ladies 
of Kent, was torn to ribbons in the course of the day. 
Th<- pieces, however, were carefully collected by Cap- 
tain J. D. Allen, and returned to the donors, who sewed 
them together. This ensign now hangs in Canterbury 
Cathedral. A new silk ensign was given to the ship 
by the ladies of the county of Kent, and was hoisted 
on the first anniversary of the battle, December 8th, 



..." England 
Grasped with sure hands the sceptre of the sea, 
That untamed realm of liberty which none 
Had looked upon as aught but wilderness 
Ere this, or even dreamed of as the seat 
Of power and judgment and high sovereignty 
Whereby all nations at the last should make 
One brotherhood, and war should be no more." 

— ALFRED NOVES (Drake). 

The battle of the Falkland Islands was, perhaps, more 
like the old-time naval engagements fought by sailing 
ships of the line than any other naval battle that is 
likely to take place nowadays. There were no sub- 
marines, no destroyers, no aeroplanes or Zeppelins, nor 
any other of the manifold death-dealing devices that 
tend to make war so much more hideous than in days 
gone by. In a word, it was open fighting. Not a 
torpedo was fired. Not even a mine was dropped, 
if the survivors who stated that the German ships did 
not carry them can be believed. There were a few 
anxious moments when zinc cases were seen floating 
on the surface ahead, glistening in the sunlight, but 
they turned out to be empty cartridge cases that the 
enemy had dropped overboard. 

There were three very general feelings that followed 
on after the battle : firstly, that we had at last been 


Aftermath 135 

able to achieve something of real value ; secondly, that 
it was quite as good as a fortnight's leave (the most 
one usually gets in the Navy) ; and thirdly, that the 
war would now soon be over. In a similar manner, 
after a local success on land, the soldiers at the be- 
ginning of the war frequently hoped that it might bring 
matters to a conclusion. Thus do local events in war 
assume an exaggerated importance. 

There can be no two opinions as to the decisive 
nature of this battle. In the course of a single day, 
the whole of this German squadron, together with two 
colliers, had been destroyed with the exception of the 
light cruiser Dresden. A comparison of the difference in 
the casualties points not only to its decisiveness, but also 
to the success of Admiral. Sturdee's dispositions and 
methods of bringing the enemy to action. It was a 
strategic victory. 

The German Admiral found himself very much in 
the same position as Admiral Cradock at Coronel, with 
one important difference. Cradock sought action de- 
spite the many odds against him, whereas von Spee 
tried to run when he found he was outclassed. 
Sir Henry Newbolt puts the proposition admirably. 
Alt. 1 remarking that running is the game of the losing 
side, he says, " You have only to consider what it would 
been worth to Germany to have had a Cradock 
flying In flag in the Scharnhorst on that Dei ember 8th. 
You 'an imagine him, when the great battle-cruisers 
came out oi harbour, signalling, ' I am going to attack 
the enemy now,' and going straight to inert them at 
full speed. Their steam was not yet up --he could 

136 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

have closed them then and there. What a fight that 
would have been ! No impotent scattering flight, no 
hours of burning misery, with ships turning this way 
and that, to bring their guns to bear upon an enemy 
beyond their reach ; but a desperate short-range action 
with every shot telling — a chance of dealing the enemy 
a heavy blow before the end, and the certainty of leaving 
a great tradition to the Service." 

Directly the Gneisenau was sunk, wireless signals 
were made by the Commander-in-Chief asking where 
the Dresden was last seen, and in what direction she 
was heading at that time. It will be recollected that 
she had the speed of our armoured cruisers and got clean 
away without firing a single round, having been last 
seen by the Glasgow steering away to the S.S.W. 
Later signals were made calling up the Kent, as no one 
knew what had happened to her, since she was last 
seen going after the Niirnberg. These calls were re- 
peated again and again without result on account of 
her damaged wireless, and it was not till the afternoon 
of the following day that all anxieties were allayed by 
the Kent arriving at Port William, bringing with her 
the news of another brilliant success. 

The problem of the moment, therefore, was to com- 
plete the victory by rounding up the Dresden as soon 
as possible. Should she escape now and take refuge 
in one of the innumerable inlets or channels that abound 
in the unsurveyed localities of the southern part of 
South America, clearly it would be a matter of great 
difficulty to catch her. With his characteristic energy* 

Aftermath 137 

Admiral Sturdee did not lose a moment in following up 
his victory. The Carnarvon was despatched to escort the 
Or a ma and colliers coming south from the base to Port 
Stanley. The two battle-cruisers Invincible and Inflexible 
proceeded with all haste to Staten Island, and thence made 
a careful search for the Dresden in the numerous bays 
around Tierra del Fuego. The Glasgow was ordered to the 
Straits of Magellan in the hope that she might intercept 
her, whilst the Bristol searched for both the Dresden and 
the Kent to the southward of the Falklands. Owing 
to lack of coal, the Cornwall was obliged to return to 
harbour, and was the first ship to arrive there on Decem- 
ber 9th ; she was followed shortly afterwards by the Kent. 

During the night of December 8th a thick fog came 
on, which made the navigation of those of our ships 
endeavouring to make land no easy matter. Magnetic 
compasses are apt to be considerably affected by gun- 
fire, and consequently the dead-reckoning positions of 
our ships were by no means to be relied upon, and were 
not sufficiently accurate to give confidence in approach- 
ing an indented coast like the east side of the Falklands. 

Sad to relate, not a vestige of the Dresden was seen by 
any of our ships that were scattered in the search for her. 
She was careful to abstain from using her wireless, even 
though there must have been several German supply 
ships in the vicinity who would urgently require to be 
informed of the annihilation of their squadron. This 
quest entailed travelling at high speed, so shortage of 

I and oil fuel forced our ships to return one by one. 
l>y the evening of December nth the whole squadron 
had once again reassembled at the Falkland 

138 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Congratulations now poured in from all parts of 
the world, and were promulgated by the Commander-in- 
Chief. The Governor of the Falkland Islands, the Hon. 
William Allardyce, C.M.G., visited the flagship and 
congratulated Admiral Sturdee, together with the whole 
of our squadron, in glowing terms on behalf of the 
colony. Admiral Sturdee issued an interesting Memo- 
randum, which is given in toto, calling attention to 
the urgent necessity for completing the victory by 
running the Dresden to earth. These messages are 
given in Part III. 

Casualties in any decisive modern naval engage- 
ment are frequently very one-sided, one fleet suffer- 
ing enormous losses whilst the other escapes with 
comparative immunity. This battle proved no ex- 
ception to this rule. In the British squadron, the 
Invincible and Cornwall had no casualties, though 
they both had a big share of hits. The Carnarvon 
and Bristol were untouched. The Inflexible had I 
man killed and 3 slightly wounded. The Glasgow 
had 1 man killed and 4 wounded through a single un- 
lucky shot. The heaviest casualties occurred in the 
Kent, who had 5 men killed and n wounded, 3 of whom 
subsequently succumbed to their wounds ; most of 
these were caused by the bursting of one shell. She 
was hit thirty-seven times, and went in to a much 
closer range than the remainder of our ships. The 
squadron, therefore, incurred a total loss of 10 men 
killed and 15 wounded, whilst the Germans lost some 
2,260 men all told. The crews of their ships totalled 
2,432 officers and men, and were estimated as follows : 




872 Gneisenau 

•• 3 35 

X urn berg 

. . 384 Leipzig 

•• 34i 

The prize bounty amounted to the sum of £12,160, 
to be divided amongst the officers and crews of the 
Invincible, Inflexible, Carnarvon, Cornwall, Kent, and 
Glasgow, being calculated at the usual rate of £5 per 
head. In the course of the Prize Court proceedings 
the following reference to the German Admiral Count 
von Spee was made in regard to his action at Coronel : 
' Whatever others might have thought of this twist 
of the lion's tail, it appeared that the German Admiral 
was under no delusion. ... It was perhaps as well 
to put on record that the German Admiral, when he 
took his fleet into Valparaiso, refused to drink the toast 
of ' Damnation to the British Navy,' and apparently 
had a premonition that his end was very near." 

The prisoners of war were all sent home in the Mace- 
donia and the storeship Crown of Galicia, but not before 
Admiral Sturdee had given them to understand in the 
firmest possible manner that if any man was found 
tampering with the ship's fittings, or was discovered 
out of that portion of the ship allocated to his use, he 
would be very severely dealt with. 

The few days spent at Port Stanley after the battle 
will .ilv..i\ live in tin- memory of those who were pre- 
sent. They were days full o\ hard work, combined with 
visits to friends and intere ting dia ussions on individual 
The interest ol meeting, boarding, and 
going over othei ships to view the shot holes may be 
mcd. Reports and plans had to be made out. 

140 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Several ships had to be heeled over to get at the dam- 
aged part, and presented a comic appearance, the Corn- 
wall being so far over as to look positively dangerous. 
All ships had to coal and were busy at it night and 
day. Few will forget those night coalings— ugh !— in 
a temperature of forty degrees, with a bitterly cold 
wind accompanied almost invariably by occasional squalls 
of hail and rain. 

Those cheers we gave one another will not be for- 
gotten ; they rang true, being full of pent-up enthusiasm, 
and, as Mr. John Masefield says, " went beyond the 
guard of the English heart." 

Unfortunately, subsequent events have made it 
impossible to recall this overwhelming victory without 
a feeling of sadness due to the loss of the gallant In- 
vincible in the battle of Jutland. One description of 
that battle says that four of her men succeeded in board- 
ing a raft, and as one of our ships passed, taking them 
at first for Huns, the narrator adds, " The four got up 
on their feet and cheered like blazes. It was the finest 
thing I have ever seen." Most of her crew were lost, 
but we have at least the satisfaction of knowing they 
died as heroes. 



" Mother and sweetheart, England ; . . . 

. . . thy love was ever wont 

To lift men up in pride above themselves 

To do great deeds which of themselves alone 

They could not ; thou hast led the unfaltering feet 

Of even thy meanest heroes down to death, 

Lifted poor knights to many a great emprise, 

Taught them high thoughts, and though they kept their souls 

Lowly as little children, bidden them lift 

Eyes unappalled by all the myriad stars 

That wheel around the great white throne of God." 

— ALFRED No YES (Drake). 

The naval man is often confronted with the question : 
" What does it feel like to be in an action at sea ? " 
This is undoubtedly very difficult to answer in any- 
thing approaching an adequate manner. There are 
various reasons for hesitancy in reply. Broadly speak- 
ing, the answer depends on two main factors, environ- 
ment and temperament, but then- are many minor points 
depending on the experience, education, and character 
of the man in question that at the same time vitally 
affect it. An attempt to generalise, therefore, is sure 
to be open to criticism. It is consequently with much 
diffidence that the following ideas are set forth, in the 
hope that they may assist the landsman to appreciate, 
in some slight degree, 'he various pout •! view of the 
officers and men who right our warships. 


142 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

There is obviously a wide difference in the outlook, 
and consequently in the working of the mind, of the 
man behind a gun, or in any other position where he 
can see and hear how matters are progressing, and the 
man buried in the bowels of the ship, who is stoking, 
working machinery, or engaged in the supply of ammu- 
nition. When once the action has begun, the former will 
probably never give a moment's thought to his own safety 
or that of the ship he is in, whilst the latter, during 
any intervals that may occur in his work, can only 
think of how things are going with his ship. Lastly, 
there is a very divergent view between the man who 
knows he is going into a battle such as that fought off 
the Falkland Islands, where our ships possessed a marked 
superiority, and the man who was present, say, at 
Coronel, where the conditions were reversed. 

During an action, the captain of a man-of-war is 
usually in the conning-tower, where he is surrounded by 
several inches of steel. A good all-round view is ob- 
tained through a slit between the roof and the walls. 
From this point of vantage he can communicate with 
the gunnery control positions, the gun positions, engine- 
rooms, torpedo-rooms, and, in fact, with every por- 
tion of the complex machine represented by a modern 
warship. Having spent a number of years at sea, he 
has frequently pictured to himself what a naval engage- 
ment would be like, but it is very problematical whether 
he has ever taken the trouble to analyse what his own 
feelings would be ; in any case, his imaginations were 
probably both far from the reality. When approaching 
the scene of action he most likely gives a passing thought 

The Psychology of the Sailor 143 

to his kith and kin, but his responsibility will be too great 
to admit of his feelings taking hold of him, and his 
thoughts will afterwards be concentrated entirely on 
the work in hand. During the action he is watching 
every movement with the utmost keenness, giving a 
curt order where necessary as he wipes from his face 
the salt water splashed up by a short projectile. His 
nerves and even his muscles are strung up to a high 
pitch of tensity, and he loses himself altogether in 
working out the problem before him. 

The gunnery officer in the control position on the 
foremast is, of course, in a much more exposed position ; 
without any armour protection to speak of. Doubt- 
less there flashes across his mind a hope that he will 
come through without being picked off by a stray shot. 
The thoughts of the men with him, and those of the 
men working the range-finders, who also have practically 
no protection, will probably be very similar to his. But 
when approaching the enemy, all their attention is 
needed to acquire as much information as possible, in 
order to get an idea of his approximate course and speed. 
Later, all their faculties are exercised in determining 
the corrections to be made to the sights of their guns 
as regards range and deflection, so as to hit the enemy, 
and in giving the orders to fire. 

The navigation officer, notebook in hand, is with 
the captain in the conning-tower, and his thoughts are 
col far diffi rent. His attention is riveted on the course 
ol the ship and any impending manoeuvre thai he may 
presume to be imminent or advisable. In some of the 
older ships, where the quartermaster steers from the 

144 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

conning-tower, his observation is often made more irk- 
some by salt-water spray getting into his eyes and pre- 
venting him from seeing the compass clearly. 

With the commander and others who may be below 
in the ammunition passages in the depths of the ship, 
the one thought obsessing the mind to the exclusion 
of almost everything else will be : " What is happening, 
and how are we getting on ? " Passing up ammunition 
is no sinecure ; it is invariably a warm job down below. 
Stripped to the waist, hard at it, and perspiring freely, 
many a joke is cracked in much the same spirit as in- 
spires Tommy in the trenches. Now and again a bit 
of news comes down and is passed along like lightning 
from mouth to mouth. For example, in one case a 
shell hits one of our ship's funnels, and it has gone by 
the board with a frightful din, as if hell were suddenly 
let loose ; the news is passed down to the commander 
i n the ammunition passage, to which he cheerily replies : 
" That's all right ; we have plenty left, haven't we ? " 
Again, a shell strikes the hull of the ship, making her 
quiver fore and aft and almost stop her roll ; naturally 
the effect of this is felt down below far more than on 
deck, and though some may wonder whether it has 
struck on the waterline or not, there is merely a casual 
remark that the enemy is shooting a bit better. 

The engineer officers in the engine-rooms are con- 
stantly going to and fro along the greasy steel floors, 
watching every bearing and listening intently to every 
sound of the machinery in much the same way as a 
motorist listens to hear if his engine is misfiring. They, 
too, are longing for news of how the fight is going on 

The Psychology of the Sailor 145 

as they keenly watch for any alteration of the engine- 
room telegraphs, or of the hundred and one dials show- 
ing the working of the various engines under their 

The stokers, stripped to a gantline, and digging out 
for daylight, are in much the same position as those 
passing up ammunition, save that they seldom, if ever, 
get a lull in their work in which to indulge their thoughts. 
Those trimming the coal in the boxlike bunkers have 
perhaps the most unenviable task. Breathing in a 
thick haze of coal dust, black from head to foot, they 
work on at full pressure in these veritable black holes, 
without the chance of hearing any news of what is 
going on " up topsides." 

Every man in the ship is working at his appointed 
station during an action — even the cooks are busy assist- 
ing with the supply of ammunition — everyone is be- 
hind armour, or below the waterline, with the exception 
of those few whose duties do not permit of it. This fact 
accounts for the comparatively few casualties in the 
ships that come out the victors in a sea fight, in spite 
of the tremendous havoc done by a shell bursting in 
the vicinity of cast steel, which throws up multitudes 
of splinters in all directions. 

The guns' crews are all working at their respective 
weapons, sometimes wading in water if .1 heavy swell 
falls short close to them. Yet they see the result of 
th< 11 work, and every bit of damage done to the enemy 
is invariably put down to the handiwork of their in- 
dividual gun. They may be said to be having the time 
of their livi in .1 successful action. During a lull, the 

146 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

enemy's fire is heavily criticised ; suggestions as to 
the corrections that should be applied to his gunsights 
in order to get a hit are calmly made as they watch 
the splashes of his projectiles, and are as soon contra- 
dicted by some other authority who suggests something 
different. When their own ship is hit a remark is made 
to the effect — " That was a good 'un ! " from the coldly 
calculating point of view of the expert. Unaccountable 
as it may seem, during artillery fire at sea there is usually 
this irrepressible desire to figure out the corrections needed 
for the enemy's gunsights in order that he may register 
a direct hit. Several of our naval officers testified to 
this strange phenomenon at Gallipoli, when undergoing 
a bombardment from Turkish forts and batteries, and 
added that they were held fascinated in doing so. 

On the other hand, when a shell goes beyond the 
ship, at the first shrill whiz-z-z overhead, one calculates 
deliberately that the enemy will shortly lower his range, 
and, discretion being the better part of valour, the 
welcome shelter of a turret, casemate, or conning tower 
is speedily sought. It is curious that if the shells are 
falling short there is no such concern for the safety 
of one's skin. The writer has seen a group of officers 
having a spirited argument as to the corrections that 
should be made to the sights of a Turkish gun whose 
shell fell a few hundred yards short of the ship. It 
was not till one screamed past their heads, pitching in 
the water on the far side, that they thought of taking 
cover. The analogy does not apparently hold good to 
the same extent in the sister Service, for on terra firma 
the range is registered with fair accuracy, and it is 

The Psychology of the Sailor 147 

usual to scuttle off to a dug-out as soon as Beachy Bill 
or Long Tom opens fire. 

A shell from a heavy gun whistling close overhead 
seems to recall something of the physical emotion ex- 
perienced as a child, when one ventured too high in a 
swing. There is a sort of eerie feeling in the interior 
which seems to struggle upward to one's throat, thereby 
causing a throttling sensation ; and this seems to take 
place continuously, though it diminishes slightly as 
time goes on. 

Another feature that is perhaps worth mentioning is 
what the sailor calls " getting a cheap wash." This occurs 
incessantly in a naval action, for a large shell fired at 
a long range falling into the water close to a ship will 
throw up a solid wall of water, often two or three hun- 
dred feet in height, so that it is no uncommon thing 
to get frequently soused. In the Falkland Islands 
battle the men right up in the control tops on the masts 
of the battle-cruisers complained of being unable to 
work their instruments satisfactorily owing to frequent 
drenchings by spray. 

The strain that is undergone during a naval action 
can easily be imagined, though most men will agree 
that they are unconscious of it at the time ; it is not 
until everything is over and finished with thai its effects 
materialise. In the Navy every officer and man bears 
the burden of responsibility, and frequently it is one 
upon which may depend the safety of the lives of his 
shipmates. I [e may have to execute a manoeuvre of vital 
importance — close a watertight compartment, put out 
a fire caused by a high explosive shell <>r do any of 

148 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

the hundred and one duties that are necessary in a 
man-of-war. Newton's law of gravitation tells us that 
to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 
This fundamental principle undoubtedly holds good 
in the working of the human mind. The old example 
that a piece of cord, gradually stretched tighter and 
tighter until its limit of elasticity is attained, sags when 
the force is removed, is a very good parallel indeed of 
what takes place during and after action so far as the 
average fighting man is concerned. His mind, and all 
his faculties, have been extended to their full capacity 
in concentrating on the work in hand, in seeing that 
there is no sign of a hitch anywhere, in forestalling 
any possible accident, and in thinking out his own line 
of action in any given circumstance that may arise. 
The man who has been toiling physically has also been 
strung up to the highest possible pitch ; the very best 
that is in him has been called forth, and he has in all 
probability never done better work, or striven so hard 
in his life before. 

The bugle call " Cease fire " does not necessarily 
imply that all is over ; it may only mean a temporal 
cessation or lull in the action ; but when the " Secure " 
is sounded, there is no mistaking that the fight is finished. 
This is followed by the " Disperse," when all guns are 
secured, ammunition returned, and all the magazines 
and shell rooms locked up. Then a large number of 
the men are free ; orders are given to the engine-room 
department regarding the speed required, enabling 
some of the stokers told off as relief parties and em- 
ployed in trimming coal to be released. 

The Psychology of the Sailor 149 

As a general rule, however, the guns are kept manned 
and speed is not reduced after a modern naval action, 
so that the number of men released from duty is com- 
paratively small. Perhaps the enemy is sinking, when 
the seamen will be engaged in turning out boats pre- 
paratory to saving life. The men who are unemployed 
watch the sinking of an enemy ship with very different 
sentiments. All experience a glow of satisfaction, and 
most men will pity the poor wretches who are drowning 
or clinging more or less hopelessly to floating pieces of 
wreckage. A few are entirely callous, deeming such 
emotions a sign of weakness in view of the many 
atrocities committed by the enemy. This scarcely 
applied after the battle of the Falkland Islands, where 
the " Hymn of Hate " and other German propaganda 
fostering feelings of enmity had not embittered men's 

Lastly, there comes the utter physical weariness 
both of mind and body, attended by an intense longing 
for food, drink, and sleep, accompanied by the pleasant 
thought that the war will now soon be over. Officers 
crowd into the wardroom to get a drink and something 
to eat. The galley fire will be out, for the chef has been 
passing up ammunition, so no hot food, tea, or cocoa 
will be available for some little time. A walk round the 
ship reveals men lying in all sorts of impossible postures, 
too done up to bother about eating ; others are crowding 
1 the canteen, or getting any food that they can 
on the mess deck. 

Aft. 1 the battle ol the Falkland Islands one oi the 
boy stewards who had been passing up shell during the 

150 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

action was found in the ammunition passage, " dead 
to the world," lying athwart an old washtub. There 
he was, in that stale and stuffy atmosphere, in the most 
uncomfortable position imaginable, fast asleep, com- 
pletely worn out from sheer exhaustion, with his head 
and arms dangling over one side of the tub. 

A large number have to continue their labours on 
watch in the engine room or on deck, in spite of having 
the greatest difficulty in keeping their eyes open. The 
extreme tension and strain is over, and it requires a 
strong effort to resist the temptation to let things slide 
and relapse into a state of inanition. 

That the men brace themselves to grapple with their 
further duties in a spirit which allows no sign of reluct- 
ance or fatigue to show itself, does them infinite credit. 
They must look forward nevertheless to the moment when 
the ship will pass safely into some harbour guarded by 
net-defence from submarine attack, where all the guns' 
crews are not required to be constantly awake at their 
guns, and fires can be put out. Then, after coaling, 
prolonged and undisturbed sleep may be indulged in 
to make up for the lost hours, and " peace, perfect 
peace," will reign — for a while. 


von spee's aims and hopes 

The British Public and our gallant Allies have no doubt 
fully appreciated the commercial importance of the 
battle of the Falkland Islands. The relief that was 
thereby given to our shipping and trade not only in 
South American waters, but throughout our overseas 
Empire, can only be realised by those who have large 
interests therein. British trade with South America 
was iirst upset by the exploits of the Karlsruhe, later 
on prestige was still more affected by the Coronel dis- 
aster, and, finally, most of all by the expectation of 
the arrival of von Spee's squadron in the Atlantic. The 
freedom since enjoyed by our merchant shipping on all the 
seL-trade routes of the world was in great part due to the 
success of this portion of our Navy, the blockade having 
been firmly established by our powerful lleet in home 
waters. The toll of ships sunk and captured in the early 
months of the war would have been much greater, trade 
would have been seriously dislocated for the time being, 
ar.d the pinch of a shortage in food supplies would 
probably have been felt had it not been for this very 
opportune victory. 

What were von Spee's intentions after the destruction 
of Admiral Cradock's squadron we shall probably never 
know, but it is evident he could not remain in the 
Pacific , it ih fairly certain, also, that he intended to seize 

1 I 

152 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

the Falkland Islands if he found them insufficiently 
guarded, as he had reason to infer was the case. 
Obviously the most tempting course then open to him, 
whether he took the Falklands or not, was to hold up 
our trade along the whole of the east coast of South 
America. But the possibility of doing this was diminished 
by his fatal delay after Coronel, before makingamove. Had 
he acted at once he might have been able to do this with 
impunity for at least a month, by dividing up his squadron 
into small units. His coal and other supplies would have 
been easily assured through the armed merchant cruisers 
Prinz Eitel Friedrich and Kronprinz Wilhelm, organising 
the colliers and shoreships along these coasts. The Kron- 
prinz Wilhelm had been operating for months past on the 
north coast of South America in conjunction with the Karls- 
ruhe, and therefore already knew the tricks of this trade. 

Had he been permitted to pursue this policy, von 
Spee was inevitably bound to touch on the delicate 
subject of neutrality in arranging supplies for so numer- 
ous a squadron. Now, according to the laws laid down 
by Article 5 of the Hague Conference, 1907, " belligerents 
are forbidden to use neutral ports and waters as a base 
of operations against their adversaries." By Article ;2 
it is laid down that in default of any other special pro- 
visions in the legislation of a neutral Power, belligerent 
warships are forbidden to remain in the ports, roadsteads, 
or territorial waters of the said Power for more than 
twenty-four hours, except in special cases covered by 
the Convention. It is left to the neutral to make regu- 
lations as to the hospitality it will afford, and those 
laid down by Brazil were that a belligerent vessel was 

Von Spee's Aims and Hopes 153 

only allowed to visit one of their ports once in three 
months for the purpose of obtaining supplies. 

Being aware of these conditions, and that neutrality 
could not be imposed upon to an unlimited extent, it 
follows that von Spee would have been dependent in a 
great measure on supply ships which were able to evade 
the scrutiny of the neutral authorities — a precarious state 
of existence. Coal would be his prime necessity, and he 
might have hoped to secure a supply of this from cap- 
tured colliers, but he could not depend upon it for such 
a large number of ships. Meanwhile, however, very 
considerable damage might have been done to our ship- 
ping, and it is generally believed the Germans were 
optimistic enough to hope that England would be brought 
to her knees from starvation by being cut off from both 
North and South American ports during this period, 
although there was really no ground whatsoever for 
such a surmise. Perhaps we shall in the future be care- 
ful not to frame so many laws for the conduct of war, 
since the Power that neglects these laws rides rough- 
shod over her more conscientious opponent. 

Such a scheme may have been the natural out- 
come of von Spee's success at Coronel. On the other 
hand, it is impossible to state with certainty that 
he did not intend to go ultimately to the Cape 
Good Hope or some other part of Africa, but 
the pros and cons have already been discussed, and 
it scarcely appears probable. Von Spec, of course, 
had no notion of the prompt measure taken by 
our Admiralty m dispatching two powerful battle- 
cruisers of high speed to these waters without loss of 

154 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

time and in complete secrecy, though he must have 
concluded that no time would be lost in sending out 
reinforcements. Apparently his judgment was here at 
fault ; hence the proposed attack on our colony in the 
Falkland Islands, the capture of which would have yielded 
him coal for his squadron's immediate requirements. 

Von Spee is said to have been over-persuaded by 
his staff to undertake this latter venture. His movements 
here certainly led to the conclusion that he had no 
fixed plan. When the Invincible reached Pernambuco 
on her way home, there was a strong rumour that three 
colliers had been waiting off the coast for the Scharn- 
horst and Gneisenau ; this points to the capture of the 
Falklands not being included in the original plan. Admiral 
Sturdee searched the area for these ships but found nothing. 

Both the British and German squadrons refrained 
from using wireless, and so had no knowledge of their 
proximity during the first week in December. Had the 
German ships passed our squadron whilst coaling at the 
Falklands, they would in all likelihood have separated, 
and would then have had a free hand — for some time, at 
any rate — along the east coast, whilst our ships would 
have gone round the Horn and searched for them in vain 
in the Pacific. The first intimation of their having 
eluded our squadron would have been that much of 
our shipping would be reported overdue in England 
from South American ports (for von Spee would most 
assuredly have avoided approaching within sight of 
land). This would very probably have been. put down 
in the first few instances to the depredations of the 
Karlsruhe, whose fate was at this time quite unknown. 

Von Spee's Aims and Hopes 155 

The Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were sufficiently powerful 
to cope with anything which von Spec thought was likely 
to be in these seas. As a matter of fact, however, the 
battle-cruiser Princess Royal was in North American 
waters at this time, having left England in secrecy soon 
after the Invincible and Inflexible were dispatched south. 

In further support of this theory of what was the 
German Admiral's plan of campaign, it may be mentioned 
that a fully laden German collier was forced to intern 
at a South American port south of the Plate in order 
to avoid capture by the Carnarvon and Cornwall, who 
were searching the coast there just after the battle of 
the Falklands took place. Another collier, the Mera, 
put back into Montevideo very hurriedly and interned 
herself, and lastly, the tender Patagonia ended her 
career in like manner. The presence of all these ships 
in this locality is evidence of the organisation arranged 
for the supply of the German squadron along this coast, 
and precludes the idea of its going to Africa. 

There is evidence to show that von Spee picked up 
naval reservists for his squadron at Valparaiso, but there 
is none to confirm the rumour that he proposed to 
occupy the Falkland Islands, retaining a garrison there 

: they had been captured. He could never have 
d to occupy or to hold them for any length of time. 
Baron voa Maltzhan, the manager of a large sheep farm in 
Chile, was selected to take command of an expedition con- 
sisting of an armed force of some 500 men, whose function 
was t<> .1—1 ~t in the capture of the Falkland Islands, but 
not necessarily to remain 00 as a permanent garrison. 

that can be done to merchant shipping 

156 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

and trade by a single hostile ship has been demon- 
strated on more than one occasion during this war. If, 
therefore, it is presumed that the revised German pro- 
gramme was to capture the Falkland Islands, thus 
aiming a blow at British prestige, and then to scatter 
in the manner suggested so as to hamper or cripple 
our trade with the New World as long as possible, it 
will then be seen how opportune a victory this was for 
the British nation. 

Had von Spee escaped being brought to action, it 
seems probable that he would have endeavoured to work 
his way home in preference to the alternative of internment. 

In brief, then, this is a rough outline of events that 
" might " — one could almost use the word " would " — 
have taken place, had not such prompt steps been 
taken by the Admiralty to meet him wherever he went 
by superior forces. Von Spee knew he was being cornered, 
and is reported to have said so at Valparaiso. 

If additional proof of the decision of the Germans 
to bring about this war, whatever the cost, were re- 
quired, it is to be found in the testimony of a 
captured German reservist, who has already been 
mentioned in this book. He was German inter- 
preter to the Law Courts at Sydney. This man told a 
naval surgeon who was examining him after he had 
been rescued, when he was still in a very shaken con- 
dition and could have had no object in lying, that he 
had been called up by the German Admiralty on June 
7,6th. In company with several other reservists, there- 
fore, he took passage in a sailing ship bound for Val- 
paraiso, where he ultimately joined the Leipzig. This 

Von Spee's Aims and Hopes 157 

tale is corroborated by the fact that von Spee put into 
Valparaiso to pick up naval reservists in accordance 
with instructions from Germany, which perhaps may 
have been the cause of his delay in coming round the 
Horn after defeating Admiral Cradock. Other prisoners 
informed us that they had been cruising up and down 
the Chilian coast in order to meet a storeship from Val- 
paraiso with these reservists on board, so as to avoid 
being reported. The latter, however, never turned up, so 
the Germans were obliged to put in there a second time. 

The murder of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand of 
Austria and of his wife, the alleged cause of this war, 
took place at Serajevo, the capital of Bosnia, two days 
after this man was called up by German Admiralty 
orders, namely, on Sunday, June 28th, 1914. 

A German newspaper, in speaking of the success of 
Admiral von Spee at Coronel, also admirably sums up 
the issue of the battle of the Falkland Islands : ' The 
superiority of our fleet in no way detracts from the 
glory of our victory, for the very essence of the business 
of a strategist is the marshalling of a superior fleet at 
the right place and at the right moment." 

" Not unto us," 
Cried Drake, " not unto us — but unto Him 
Who made the sea, belongs our England now ! 
Pray God that heart and mind and soul we prove 
Worthy among the nations of this hour 
And tin great victory, whose ocean faun 
Shall wash the world with thunder till day 
When there is no more sea, and the strong clill 
Pass like a smoke, and the last peal of it 
Sounds thro' the trumpet " 

A 1 ii' in \mvi-, (Drake). 



" Now to the Strait Magellanus they came 

And entered in with ringing shouts of joy. 

Nor did they think there was a fairer strait 

In all the world than this which lay so calm 

Between great silent mountains crowned with snow, 

Unutterably lonely 

From Pole to Pole, one branching bursting storm 

Of world-wide oceans, where the huge Pacific 

Roared greetings to the Atlantic." 

ALFRED No YES (Drake). 

The failure to round up the Dresden directly after the 
battle was naturally a great disappointment, but our 
recent success prevented anyone from feeling it too 
keenly. Hearing that the Dresden had suddenly put 
into Punta Arenas (Magellan Straits) to coal, Admiral 
Sturdee immediately ordered the Inflexible, Glasgow, 
and Bristol to go in pursuit of her in that direction 
Sailing at 4 a.m. on December 13th, the Bristol arrived 
there the following afternoon to find that the Dresden 
had left the previous evening at 10 p.m., steaming away 
westwards. It was tantalising to have got so close to 
her, for she was not heard of again for months after 
this. All our ships now joined in the search, during 
which every possible bay and inlet was thoroughly 
examined. A glance at a large-scale map of this locality 
will show the difficulties that had to be surmounted. 
There were thousands of possible hiding-places amongst 


The Parting of the Ways 159 

the channels and islands, many of which wore quite 
unsurveyed ; and, at first sight, it appeared nearly 
impossible to investigate all of these in anything short 
of a lifetime. 

The Admiralty now ordered the Invincible to go to 
Gibraltar. On leaving harbour on the 14th, the Cornwall 
gave her a rousing send-off by " cheering ship," to which 
she enthusiastically replied. Admiral Sturdee sailed 
from Port Stanley on December 16th, to the great 
regret of the remainder of the squadron. He called in 
at Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, and Pernambuco en 
route, and was received in almost the same spirit in 
which Nelson was acclaimed by the Ligurian Republic 
at Genoa in 1798. 

Rear-Admiral Stoddart in the Carnarvon now took 
over the command of our squadron. The Inflexible 
continued the search for some days, after which she 
also was ordered off and sailed for the Mediterranean 
on December 24th. The remainder of our ships were 
scattered on both sides of South America and around 
Cape Horn. 

Few people have the opportunity of realising the 
beauty and grandeur of the scenery in this part of the 
world, which resembles nothing so much as the fjords 
of Norway in the winter time. The depth of water 
allows ships to navigate the narrowest channels, where 
glacier-bounded mountain^ rise precipitously from the 
edge. Once on rounding a headland we came 
upon a most unusual sighl : some forty albatrosses were 
sitting on the water. Our arrival caused them con- 
side able inconvenience and alarm, and it wa tin 

i6o The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

quaintest sight to see these huge birds with their enor- 
mous spread of wing endeavouring to rise, a feat which 
many of them were unable to achieve even after several 
attempts. All these " fjords " abound in seals — chiefly 
of the hairy variety — sea-lions, and every imaginable 
kind of penguin. Long ropes of seaweed, usually known 
amongst the seafaring world as kelp, grow on the sub- 
merged rocks, and are an invaluable guide to the sailor 
as they indicate the rocky patches. They grow to an 
enormous length, and are to be seen floating on the 
face of the water ; in fact, we had many an anxious 
though profitable moment in these unsurveyed localities 
owing to their sudden and unexpected appearance. At 
intervals a sliding glacier would enshroud the face of 
a mountain in a dense mist formed by myriads of micro- 
scopic particles of ice, which would be followed by 
wonderful prismatic effects as the sun forced his way 
through, transforming the scene into a veritable fairy- 
land of the most gorgeous lights and shades. Towards 
sunset the rose-pink and deep golden shafts of light on 
the snow-covered peaks beggared all description, and 
forced the onlooker literally to gasp in pure ecstasy. 
Only the pen of a brilliant word-painter could do justice 
to the wealth of splendour of this ever-changing panorama. 
The true Patagonian is nearly extinct, and the Indians 
inhabiting Tierra del Fuego are of a low social order, very 
primitive, and wild in appearance. We sometimes passed 
some of these in their crude dug-out canoes, which they 
handle most dexterously. Considering the severity of 
the climate, the temperature of which runs round about 
40 Fahr., they wear remarkably few clothes, and the 

The Parting of the Ways 161 

children frequently none at all, which accounts for the 
hardiness of those that survive. 

The difference between the east and west territory of 
the Straits of Magellan is very marked. The Atlantic 
end is bordered by sandy beaches and green, undulating 
slopes backed by mountains, and the weather at this 
time of year is generally fine and calm ; whereas the 
Pacific side is devoid of all vegetation, glaciers and 
mountain crags covered with snow descend nearly per- 
pendicularly to the Straits, and it is no exaggeration to 
say that it is possible to go almost close alongside these 
high walls without any damage to the ship. Here the 
weather is altogether different, frequent blizzards are 
attended by rough weather, with heavy seas off the 
entrance, and it is far colder. The cause of this con- 
trast lies in the Andes, which extend down to Cape Horn 
and break the force of the strong westerly winds (the 
roaring forties) that prevail in these latitudes. 

On Christmas Day, 1914, the two battle-cruisers were 
on their way to Europe. The Carnarvon spent the day coal- 
ing in Possession Bay in the Straits of Magellan. We 
were also there in the Cornwall, but were more fortunate 
in having finished coaling the previous evening ; how- 
ever, we went to sea during the afternoon. It was 
scarcely what one would term a successful day, for the 
ship had to be cleaned, and it was impossible to decorate 
the mess deck, as is the custom. Nevertheless, we had 
a cheerful Service, which was followed by Holy Com- 
munion, and for the mid-day dinner then- was plenty 
Jl pork and plum-duff 1 Unfortunately, .1- has 
been i< lated, we were n<>t to gel our mail or our plum- 

162 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

puddings for many a long day. The Kent, Glasgoiv, 
Bristol, and Orama had poor weather off the coast of 
Chile, which did not help to enliven their Christmas. 
The Otranto, perhaps, was the best off, having recently 
come from Sierra Leone, where she had filled up with 

The Cornwall was the next ship to be ordered away. 
We left Port Stanley on January 3rd, 1915, and sailed 
for England to have the damage to our side properly 
repaired in dry dock. 

It would be tedious to follow in detail the wanderings 
of the remainder of our ships, who proceeded with 
colliers in company to ferret out every nook and cranny 
in this indented coastline. The Newcastle and some 
Japanese cruisers operated farther to the north along 
the Pacific side. Admiral Stoddart's squadron must 
have covered many thousands of miles with practically 
no respite in this onerous and fatiguing duty. Their lot 
was by no means enviable, they were perpetually under 
way, except when they stopped to replenish with coal, 
their mails were of necessity very irregular, and they 
were seldom able to get fresh food. Imagine, then, 
with what joy they ultimately found the termination 
of their labours in the sinking of the Dresden ! 



" Tell them it is El Draque," he said, " who lacks 
The time to parley ; therefore it will be well 
They strike at once, for I am in great haste." 
There, at the sound of that renowned name, 
Without a word down came their blazoned 1' 
Like a great fragment of the dawn it lay, 
Crumpled upon their decks. . . . 

Au-Rici) NOYES {Drake). 

There is remarkably little to tell about this action, 
which concludes the exploits of our ships in these waters. 
The whole fight only lasted a few minutes altogether — 
a poor ending to a comparatively fruitless career, con- 
sidering the time that the Dresden was at large. During 
the months of January and February, 1915, the search 
for her had been carried on unremittingly ; but though 
had managed successfully to evade us, she was so 
pressed that she was unable to harass or make attacks 
on our shipping. That sin- never once attempted to 
operate along the main trade routes shows the energy 
with which this quest was prosecuted. From the time oi 
her escape on December s ili till the day on which she 
sank, the Dresden only destroyed two sailing v< 

■ . made su< h thorough arrangements to « ov< r 

•its that no reliable information as to li< 1 

wh< rcabouts ever leaked through to oui squadron. 

Rumours were I gion, and there were " p< ople who were 


164 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

prepared to swear that they had seen her." The two 
places they mentioned were practically uncharted and 
were found to be full of hidden dangers. Acting on 
this "reliable" information, the localities were exam- 
ined by our cruisers early in March, but it was found 
out afterwards that the Dresden had never visited either 
of them. 

The armed merchantman Prinz Eitel Friedrich had 
been much more successful, and had captured and 
destroyed ten ships during these two months. Many, 
it is true, were sailing vessels, but none the less anxiety 
began to make itself felt in local shipping circles, and 
the whole position once more became uneasy and dis- 
turbed. Early in March the Prinz Eitel Friedrich arrived 
at Newport News in the United States with a number 
of prisoners on board, which had been taken from these 
prizes. She was badly in need of refit, and her engines 
required repairs. On learning that one of her victims 
was an American vessel, public indignation was hotly 
aroused, and but little sympathy was shown for her 
wants. Her days of marauding were brought to an 
end, for the Americans resolutely interned her. 

On March 8th the Kent, in the course of her patrol 
duties, sighted the Dresden in latitude 37 S., longitude 
80 W. It was a calm, misty morning, which made it 
impossible to see any distance. During the afternoon 
the haze suddenly lifted, and there was the Dresden, 
only ten miles away. The Kent seems to have sighted 
the Dresden first, and steamed full speed towards her 
for a few minutes before being observed. This interval, 
however, did not allow her to get within gun range. 

The Last of the Dresden 165 

Of course the Dresden, being a far newer and faster 
vessel, soon increased the distance between them, and 
after a five-hours' chase, finally escaped under cover 
of the darkness. This was the first time she had been 
sighted by a British warship since December 8th. It 
was noticed that she was standing well out of the water, 
and this chase must have used up a lot of coal. It was 
obvious, therefore, that she would require coal very 
shortly, and at a no very distant port. 

The Kent proceeded to Coronel to coal, informing 
the Glasgow and Orama. A search was organised, and, 
as a result of a wireless signal from the Glasgow, the 
Kent rejoined her not far from where the Dresden had 
been sighted. The Glasgow, Kent, and Orama caught 
sight of their quarry at 9 a.m. on March 14th, 1915, 
near Juan Fernandez Island. Smoke was seen to be 
issuing from the Dresden's funnels as our ships closed 
in on her from different directions. She was taken 
completely by surprise, and it was evident that there 
was no possible escape for her. As our ships approached 
she kept her guns trained on them, but did not attempt 
to open fire. Then all three British ships fired together, 
to which tht* German replied. The official statement 
tersely report : "An action ensued. After five min- 
utes' lighting the Dresden hauled down her colours and 
displayed the white Hag." 

Immediately the white Hag was hoisted, all the 

Briti-h ships ceased firing. The crew of the Dresden 

then began to abandon hex in haste, and were to be 

embling on shore. Jusl .1 the la I party of 

men were leaving the .hip, the German made 

166 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

arrangements to blow up the foremost magazine. Not 
long afterwards there was a loud explosion, and the 
ship began to sink slowly, bows first. The Dresden's 
officers and men had all got well clear of the ship. An 
hour later, at a quarter-past twelve, she disappeared 
below the surface, flying the white flag and the German 
ensign which had been re-hoisted at the last. All the 
surgeons and sick-berth staff of the British ships now 
attended to the German wounded, who were afterwards 
conveyed in the Omnia to Valparaiso, where they were 
landed and taken to the German hospital. 

Such a tame finish to their labours naturally caused 
disappointment amongst our ship's companies, who 
expected the enemy to uphold the traditions of Vice- 
Admiral von Spee by fighting to the last. The main 
object, however, had been achieved, the victory gained 
by Admiral Sturdee at the battle of the Falkland Islands 
had at last been made complete, and our ships in South 
American waters were now free to proceed on other 
useful service. 

Part III 




September 14th, 1914 

The Secretary of the Admiralty communicates the following 
for publication. It is a narrative of the action in South 
Atlantic on September 14th, 1914, between H.M.S. Car mania 
and the German armed merchant ship Cap Trafalgar : — 

Shortly after 11 a.m. we made out a vessel, and on 
nearer approach we saw there were three vessels, one a 
large liner, the others colliers. The latter had derricks 
topped, and were probably working when we tiove in sight. 
Before we had raised their hulls they had separated, and 

making off in different directions. The large v 

was, apparently, about our own size, with two funnels painted 

nt a Castle liner. After running away for a little 

while, the large steamer turned to starboard and headed 

irds us. She was then steering about south, and we 

ring about south-west. The weather was fine and 

sunny, with a moderate breeze from the north-east. Our 

[lots, and his apparently about 18. At 8,500 

fired a shot across his bows, and he immediately 

op ned fire from his starboard after gun. We opened with 

all the port guns, and the firing became general We were 

well within range, and most of his slid- went 1 
Consequently OUT rigging, masts, funnels, derricks, and 

1 • - 

170 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

ventilators all suffered. He was then well open on our 
port side. All our port guns and his starboard guns engaged, 
and firing became rapid. Owing to the decreasing range, 
his machine guns were becoming particularly dangerous, 
so the ship was turned away from him and the range opened. 
The ship continued to turn until the starboard battery was 

Two of our hits were seen to take his deck steam pipes. 
He was well on fire forward, and had a slight list to star- 
board. One of his shells had passed through the cabin, 
under our forebridge, and although it did not burst, it started 
a fire which became rapidly worse, no water being avail- 
able owing to the fire main having been shot through. The 
chemical fire extinguishers proving of very little use, the 
fire got such a firm hold that the forebridge had to be aban- 
doned, and the ship conned from aft, using the lower steering 
position. At this time the enemy was on our starboard, 
with a heavy list to starboard, and at 1.50 p.m., or one hour 
and forty minutes from the firing of the first shot, she cap- 
sized to starboard and went down bows first, with colours 
flying. It was some time before we got the fire under, 
which necessitated keeping the ship before the wind, and 
consequently we could not go to the assistance of the sur- 
vivors, some of whom got away in boats and were picked 
up by one of the colliers. 

The enemy before sinking was in wireless communica- 
tion with some German vessel, and as smoke was seen in 
the northern horizon and the signalman thought he could 
make out a cruiser's funnels, we went off full speed to the 
southward. When we were in touch with the Cornwall 
all we asked him was to meet us, as the ship was 
unseaworthy and practically all communications and 
navigational instruments were destroyed, rendering the 
conning and navigation of the ship difficult and 

On the 15th, at 4.30 p.m., the Bristol picked us up 
and escorted us until relieved by the Cornwall, who took 
us on to an anchorage to effect temporary repairs. 

The Action of H.M.S. Carmania 171 

The following were decorated for their services during 
this engagement : 

Captain Noel Grant, Royal Navy, awarded the C.B. He 
commanded and manoeuvred the Carmania throughout 
the action, and handled the ship with rare skill and 

Acting-Commander James C. Bars, Royal Naval Reserve, 
awarded the C.B. He was primarily concerned in 
getting the fire under, and prevented it spreading. 

Lieutenant-Commander E. L. B. Lockyer, Royal Navy, 
awarded the D.S.O. Controlled the gun-fire in the 
most cool and efficient manner, after which he con- 
centrated all his energy on extinguishing the fire. 

Chief Gunner Henry Middleton, Royal Navy, awarded 
the D.S.C. Did extremely well in charge of the ammu- 
nition parties, and encouraged his men by his personal 
behaviour and coolness. 

Acting Sub-Lieutenant G. F. Dickens, Royal Naval 
Reserve, awarded the D.S.C. Saved vital parts of the 
Standard Compass when the bridge was abandoned, and 
then assisted in saving the charts. 

Midshipman D. N. Colson, Royal Naval Reserve, awarded 
the D.S.C. Took the fire-hose into the (hart House, 
and in spite of being burned by falling wood, managed 
to pass the charts out to Sub-Lieutenant Dickens. 

Lieutenant-Commander W. J. O'Nkil and Lieutenant 
1 J . A. Mi'RCHiE, of the Royal Naval Reserve, together with 
Chief - Engineer F. Drummond and 2nd Engineer J. 
Mcdonald, were all specially mentioned in dispatches. 

in addition to the above, twelve men were awarded the 
D.S.M. for various acts of gallantry. 



November 1st, 1914 


The Secretary of the Admiralty announces that the follow- 
ing report has been received from H.M.S. Glasgow (Captain 
John Luce, R.N.) concerning the recent action off the Chilean 

coast : — 

Glasgow left Coronel 9 a.m. on November 1 to rejoin 
Good Hope (flagship), Monmouth, and Otranto at rendezvous. 
At 2 p.m. flagship signalled that apparently from wireless 
calls there was an enemy ship to northward. Orders were 
given for squadron to spread N.E. by E. in the following 
order : Good Hope, Monmouth, Otranto, and Glasgow, speed 
to be worked up to 15 knots. 4.20 p.m. saw smoke ; proved 
to be enemy ships, one small cruiser and two armoured 
cruisers. Glasgow reported to Admiral, ships in sight were 
warned, and all concentrated on Good Hope. At 5 p.m. 
Good Hope was sighted. 

5.47 p.m., squadron formed in line-ahead in following 
order : Good Hope, Monmouth, Glasgow, Otranto. Enemy, 
who had turned south, were now in single line-ahead 12 
miles off, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau leading. 6.18 p.m., 
speed ordered to 17 knots, and flagship signalled Canopus, 
' I am going to attack enemy now.' Enemy were now 15,000 
yards away and maintained this range, at the same time 
jambing wireless signals. 

By this time sun was setting immediately behind us 


Action off Coronel 173 

from enemy position, and while it remained above horizon 
we had advantage in light, but range too great. 6.55 p.m., 
sun set, and visibility conditions altered, our ships being 
silhouetted against afterglow, and failing light made enemy 
difficult to see. 

7.3 p.m., enemy opened fire 12,000 yards, followed in 
quick succession by Good Hope, Monmouth, Glasgow. Two 
squadrons were now converging, and each ship engaged 
opposite number in the line. Growing darkness and heavy 
spray of head sea made firing difficult, particularly for main 
deck guns of Good Hope and Monmouth. Enemy firing 
salvo got range quickly, and their third salvo caused fire to 
break out on fore part of both ships, which were constantly 
on fire till 7.45 p.m. 7.50 p.m., immense explosion occurred 
on Good Hope amidships, flames reaching 200 feet high. 
Total destruction must have followed. It was now quite 

Both sides continued firing at flashes of opposing guns. 
Monmouth was badly down by the bow and turned away to 
get stern to sea, signalling to Glasgow to that effect. 8.30 
p.m., Glasgow signalled to Monmouth, ' Enemy following us,' 
but received no reply. Under rising moon enemy's ships 
were now seen approaching, and as Glasgow could render 
Monmouth no assistance, she proceeded at full speed to 
avoid destruction. S.50 p.m., lost sight of enemy. 9.20 p.m., 
observed 75 flashes of fire, which was no doubt final attack 
on Monmouth. 

Nothing could have been more admirable than conduct 
of officers and men throughout. Though it was most trying 
to receive great volume of fire without chance of returning 
it adequately, all kept perfectly cool, there was no wild 
firing, and discipline was the same as at battle practice, 
When target ceased to be visible, gunlayers spontaneously 
ceased lire. The v rious reverse sustained has entirely failed 
to impair the spirit of officers and ship's company, and it 
is our unanimous wish to meet the enemy again as soon as 




The following official report of the action fought off Coronel 
on November ist appeared in the German Press, and is 
interesting in the light of being an accurate account as 
viewed by our enemies. 

On comparing it with Captain Luce's account, it will be 
seen that the German clocks were about thirty minutes 
slow on our time. Other evidence also points to this con- 
clusion : — 

The squadron under my command, composed of the 
large cruisers Schamhorst and Gneisenau, and the small 
cruisers Niimberg, Leipzig, and Dresden, reached on Novem- 
ber ist a point about twenty sea miles from the Chilean 
coast, in order to attack a British cruiser which, according 
to trustworthy information, had reached the locality on 
the previous evening. On the way to the spot the small 
cruisers were several times thrown out on the flanks to 
observe steamers and sailing ships. 

At 4.15 p.m. the Niimberg, which was detached on one 
of these missions, was lost sight of to the north-east, while 
the Dresden remained about twelve sea miles behind. With 
the bulk of the fleet, I was about forty miles north of Arauco 
Bay. At 4.17 p.m. there were sighted to the south-west 
at first two ships, and then at 4.25 P.M. a third ship about 
fifteen miles away. Two of them were identified as war- 
ships, and were presumed to be the Monmouth and Glasgow, 
while the third was evidently the auxiliary cruiser Otranto. 
They, too, seemed to be on a southerly course. The squadron 


Admiral von Spee and Coronel 175 

steamed at full speed in pursuit, keeping the enemy four 
points to the starboard. The wind was south, force 6, 
with a correspondingly high sea, so that I had to be careful 
not to be manoeuvred into a lee position. Moreover, the 
course chosen helped to cut off the enemy from the neutral 


About 4.35 p.m. it was seen that the enemy ships were 
steering to the west, and 1 gradually changed my course 
south-west, the Scharnhorst working up 11 knots, while the 
Gneisenau and the Leipzig slowed down. The enemy's 
numerous wireless messages were 'jammed' as far as 

At 5.20 the arrival of another warship was reported 
which took the head of the line, and was identified as the 
Good Hope, the flagship of Rear-Admiral Cradock. 

The enemy ships now got into battle formation, hoisted 

their mastdiead flags, and tried slowly to approach a south- 

erly course. From 5.35 p.m. onwards I held to a south- 

• rly course, and later to southerly course, and reduced 

speed to enable my own ships to come up. At 6.7 both 

lines — except Dresden, which was about one mile astern, 

and the Niimberg, which was at a considerable distance — 

were on an almost parallel southerly course, the distance 

rating them being 135 hectometres (14,760 yards). 

At 6.20, when at a distance of 124 hectometres, I altered 

my course one point towards the enemy, and at 6.34 opt m ,1 

•t a range of 10 ) hectom< tr< s. There was a head wind 

and si-a, and the ships rolled and pitched heavily, particularly 

-mall cruisers, on both sides. 

Ob ': and range-finding work was mosl difficult, 

• ping over the forecastles and conning-towers, 

preventing the use of some guns on the middle decks, 

of which wi re never able to see the sterns of their 

opponents, and only 1 oally their bows. On the other 

1, the gun- of the two armoured cruisers worked splen 

didly, and were well • rved 

At 6.39 the first nil '-corded in the Good Hope. 

Shortly afterwards the British opened fire, I am of opinion 

176 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

that they suffered more from the heavy seas than we did. 
Both their armoured cruisers, with the shortening range and 
the failing light, were practically covered by our fire, while 
they themselves, so far as can be ascertained at present, 
only hit the Scharnhorst twice and the Gneisenau four times. 
At 6.53, when at a distance of 60 hectometres, I sheered off 
a point. 

The enemy's artillery at this time was firing more slowly, 
while we were able to observe numerous hits. Among other 
things, it was seen that the roof of the fore double turret 
was carried away, and that a fierce fire was started in the 
turret. The Scharnhorst reckons thirty-five hits on the 
Good Hope. 

As the distance, in spite of our change of course, had 
now decreased to 49 hectometres, it was to be presumed that 
the enemy doubted the success of his artillery, and was 
manoeuvring for torpedo firing. The position of the moon, 
which had risen about six o'clock, favoured this manoeuvre. 
At about 7.45, therefore, I gradually sheered off. In the 
meantime, darkness had set in, and the range-finders in the 
Scharnhorst for the moment used the reflections of the fires 
which had broken out in the Good Hope to estimate the dis- 
tances ; gradually, however, range-finding and observation 
became so difficult that we ceased fire at 7.26. 

At 7.23 a big explosion was observed between the 
funnels of the Good Hope. So far as I could see, the ship 
did not fire after that. The Monmouth seems to have stopped 
firing at 7.20. 

The small cruisers, including the Niirnberg, which came 
up in the meantime, were by ' wireless ' at 7.30 to pursue 
the enemy and make a torpedo attack. At this time rain 
squalls limited the range of vision. The small cruisers were 
not able to find the Good Hope, but the Niirnberg came upon 
the Monmouth, which, badly damaged, crossed her bows 
and tried to come alongside. At 8.58 the Niirnberg sank 
her by a bombardment at point-blank range. 

The Monmouth did not reply, but she went down with 
her flag flying. There was no chance of saving anybody 

Admiral von Spee and Coronel 177 

owing to the heavy sea, especially as the Niimberg sighted 
smoke, and believed that another enemy ship was approach- 
ing, which she prepared to attack. 

At the beginning of the fight the Otranto made off. The 
Glasgow was able to keep up her harmless fire longer than 
her consorts maintained theirs, and she then escaped in the 

The Leipzig and the Dresden believe that they hit her 
several times. The small cruisers sustained neither loss of 
life nor damage. The Gneisenau had two slightly wounded. 
The crews went into the fight with enthusiasm. Every man 
did his duty, and contributed to the victory. 



December 8th, 1914 


Admiralty, 3rd March, 19 15. 
The following dispatch has been received from Vice-Admiral 
Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee, K.C.B., C.V.O., C.M.G., reporting 
the action off the Falkland Islands on Tuesday, the 8th of 
December, 1914 : — 

Invincible at Sea, 

December igth, 1914. 

I have the honour to forward a report on the action 
which took place on 8th December, 19 14, against a German 
Squadron off the Falkland Islands. 

I have the honour to be, Sir, 
Your obedient Servant, 

Vice- A dmiral, Commander-in-Chief. 
The Secretary, Admiralty. 


The squadron, consisting of H.M. ships Invincible, flying 
my flag, Flag Captain Percy T. H. Beamish ; Inflexible, 
Captain Richard F. Phillimore ; Carnarvon, flying the flag 
of Rear-Admiral Archibald P. Stoddart, Flag Captain Harry 
L. d'E. Skipwith ; Cornwall, Captain Walter M. Ellerton ; 
Kent, Captain John D. Allen ; Glasgow, Captain John Luce ; 
Bristol, Captain Basil H. Fanshawe ; and Macedonia, Cap- 


The Battle of the Falkland Islands 179 

tain Bertram S. Evans ; arrived at Port Stanley, Falkland 
Islands, at 10.30 a.m. on Monday, the 7th December, 1914. 
Coaling was commenced at once, in order that the ships 
should be ready to resume the search for the enemy's squadron 
the next evening, the 8th December. 

At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the 8th December, a signal was 
received from the signal station on shore : 

A four-funnel and two-funnel man-of-war in 
sight from Sapper Hill, steering northwards." 

At this time, the positions of the various ships of the 
squadron were as follows : 

edonia — At anchor as look-out ship. 
Kent (guard ship) — At anchor in Port William. 
Invincible and Inflexible — In Port William. 
Carnarvon — In Port William. 
Cornwall — In Port William. 
Glasgow — In Port Stanley. 
Bristol — In Port Stanley. 

The Kent was at once ordered to weigh, and a general 
signal was made to raise steam for full speed. 

At 8.20 a.m. the signal station reported another column 
of smoke in sight to the southward, and at 8.45 a.m. the 
Kent passed down the harbour and took up a station at 
the entrance. 

The Canopus, Captain Heathcoat S. Grant, reported at 
8.47 a.m. that the lust two ships were 8 miles off, and that 
tii- smoke reported al 8.20 a.m. appeared to be tin- smoke 
of two ship- about 20 mil' off. 

At 8.50 \ m. the signal station reported a further column 
moke m sighl 1" the southward. 

The Macedonia was ordered to weigh an< hor on the inner 
ih'i 'up . and await ordei , 

At 9.20 \ m. the two leading ships of the enemy [Gneisenau 

and N timber g), with gun I on the wireless station, 

within mi, • of the Canopus, who opened fire .it them 

180 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

across the low land at a range of 11,000 yards. The enemy 
at once hoisted their colours and turned away. At this time 
the masts and smoke of the enemy were visible from the 
upper bridge of the Invincible at a range of approximately 
17,000 yards across the low land to the south of Port William. 

A few minutes later the two cruisers altered course to 
port, as though to close the Kent at the entrance to the 
harbour, but about this time it seems that the Invincible 
and Inflexible were seen over the land, as the enemy at once 
altered course and increased speed to join their consorts. 

The Glasgow weighed and proceeded at 9.40 a.m. with 
orders to join the Kent and observe the enemy's movements. 

At 9.45 a.m. the squadron — less the Bristol — weighed, 
and proceeded out of harbour in the following order : Car- 
narvon, Inflexible, Invincible, and Cornwall. On passing Cape 
Pembroke Light, the five ships of the enemy appeared clearly 
in sight to the south-east, hull down. The visibility was at 
its maximum, the sea was calm, with a bright sun, a clear 
sky, and a light breeze from the north-west. 

At 10.20 a.m. the signal for a general chase was made. 
The battle-cruisers quickly passed ahead of the Carnarvon 
and overtook the Kent. The Glasgow was ordered to keep 
two miles from the Invincible, and the Inflexible was stationed 
on the starboard quarter of the flagship. Speed was eased 
to 20 knots at 11.15 a.m. to enable the other cruisers to 
get into station. 

At this time the enemy's funnels and bridges showed 
just above the horizon. 

Information was received from the Bristol at 11.27 A - M - 
that three enemy ships had appeared off Port Pleasant, 
probably colliers or transports. The Bristol was therefore 
directed to take the Macedonia under his orders and destroy 

The enemy were still maintaining their distance, and 
I decided, at 12.20 p.m., to attack with the two battle-cruisers 
and the Glasgow. 

At 12.47 P - M - tne S1 g na l to " Open fire and engage the 
enemy " was made. 

The Battle of the Falkland Islands 181 

The Inflexible opened tire at 12.55 PM - from her fore 
turret at the right-hand ship of the enemy, a light cruiser ; 
a few minutes later the Invincible opened fire at the same 

The deliberate lire from a range of 16,500 to 15,000 yards 
at the right-hand light cruiser, who was dropping astern, 
became too threatening, and when a shell fell close along- 
side her at 1.20 p.m. she (the Leipzig) turned away, with the 
Xiirnberg and Dresden to the south-west. These light cruisers 
were at once followed by the Kent, Glasgow, and Cornwall, 
in accordance with my instructions. 

The action finally developed into three separate en- 
counters, besides the subsidiary one dealing with the threat- 
ened landing. 


The fire of the battle-cruisers was directed on the Scharn- 
horst and Gneisenau. The effect of this was quickly seen, 
when at 1.25 p.m., with the Scharnhorst leading, they turned 
about 7 points to port in succession into line-ahead and 
opened fire at 1.30 p.m. Shortly afterwards speed was eased 
to 24 knots, and the battle-cruisers were ordered to turn 
together, bringing them into line-ahead, with the Invincible 

The range was about 13,500 yards at the final turn, and 
increased until, at 2 p.m., it had reached 16,450 yards. 

The enemy then (2.10 p.m.) turned away about 10 points 
to starboard and a second chase ensued, until, at 2.45 P.M., 
the battle-cruisers again opened fire ; this caused the enemy, 
at 2.53 p.m., to turn into line-ahead to port and open fire 
at 2.55 p.m. 

The Scharnhorst caught fire forward, but not seriously, 
and her fire slackened perceptibly ; the Gneisenau was badly 
hit by the Inflexible. 

At 3.30 p.m. tin- S ' ted round about 10 points 

to starboard ; just previously her fire slackened per- 
ceptibly, and one shell had shot away her third funnel ; 

182 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

some guns were not firing, and it would appear that the 
turn was dictated by a desire to bring her starboard guns 
into action. The effect of the fire on the Scharnhorst became 
more and more apparent in consequence of smoke from 
fires, and also escaping steam ; at times a shell would cause 
a large hole to appear in her side, through which could be 
seen a dull red glow of flame. At 4.4 p.m. the Scharnhorst, 
whose flag remained flying to the last, suddenly listed heavily 
to port, and within a minute it became clear that she was 
a doomed ship ; for the list increased very rapidly until 
she lay on her beam ends, and at 4.17 p.m. she disappeared. 

The Gneisenau passed on the far side of her late flag- 
ship, and continued a determined but ineffectual effort to 
fight the two battle-cruisers. 

At 5.8 p.m. the forward funnel was knocked over and 
remained resting against the second funnel. She was evi- 
dently in serious straits, and her fire slackened very much. 

At 5.15 p.m. one of the Gneisenau' s shells struck the 
Invincible ; this was her last effective effort. 

At 5.30 p.m. she turned towards the flagship with a heavy 
list to starboard, and appeared stopped, with steam pouring 
from her escape pipes and smoke from shell and fires rising 
everywhere. About this time I ordered the signal " Cease 
fire," but before it was hoisted the Gneisenau opened fire 
again, and continued to fire from time to time with a single 

At 5.40 p.m. the three ships closed in on the Gneisenau, 
and at this time the flag flying at her fore truck was apparently 
hauled down, but the flag at the peak continued flying. 

At 5.50 p.m. " Cease fire " was made. 

At 6 p.m. the Gneisenau heeled over very suddenly, show- 
ing the men gathered on her decks and then walking on 
her side as she lay for a minute on her beam ends before 

The prisoners of war from the Gneisenau report that, by 
the time the ammunition was expended, some 600 men had 
been killed and wounded. The surviving officers and men 
were all ordered on deck and told to provide themselves 

The Battle of the Falkland Islands 183 

with hammocks and any articles that could support them 
in the water. 

When the ship capsized and sank there were probably 
some 200 unwounded survivors in the water, but, owing to 
the shock of the cold water, many were drowned within 
sight of the boats and ship. 

Every effort was made to save life as quickly as possible 
both by boats and from the ships ; life-buoys were thrown 
and ropes lowered, but only a proportion could be rescued. 
The Invincible alone rescued 108 men, 14 of whom were 
found to be dead after being brought on board ; these men 
were buried at sea the following day with full military honours. 


At about 1 p.m., when the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau 
turned to port to engage the Invincible and Inflexible, the 
enemy's light cruisers turned to starboard to escape ; the 
Dresden was leading and the Niimberg and Leipzig followed 
on each quarter. 

In accordance with my instructions, the Glasgow, Kent, 
and Cornwall at once went in chase of these ships ; (he 
Carnarvon, whose speed was insufficient to overtake them, 
closed the battle-cruisers. 

The Glasgow drew well ahead of the Cornwall and Kent, 
and at 3 p.m. shots were exchanged with the Leipzig at 
12,000 yards. The Glasgow's object was to endeavour to 
outrange the Leipzig with her 6-inch guns and thus cause 
h< 1 i" alter course and give the Cornwall and Kent a <hance 
of coming into action. 

At 4.17 p.m. the Cornwall opened fire, also on the Leipzig. 

At 717 p.m. the Leipzig was on fire fore and aft, and the 
(."m., all and Glasgow ceased fixe. 

Ih. / vpxig turn, d ovei on hei porl ide and <li ap 
■\ al ■« p.m Seven office] and eleven men were saved. 

At 1 ;'» I'M. the Cornwall ordered tin' Kent to enga 
the Nurnbe) ■;. the nean 1 < 1 uiser to hei . 

184 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Owing to the excellent and strenuous efforts of the engine 
room department, the Kent was able to get within range 
of the Number g at 5 p.m. At 6.35 p.m. the Number g was 
on fire forward and ceased firing. The Kent also ceased 
firing and closed to 3,300 yards ; as the colours were still 
observed to be flying in the Numberg, the Kent opened 
fire again. Fire was finally stopped five minutes later on 
the colours being hauled down, and every preparation was 
made to save life. The Numberg sank at 7.27 p.m., and 
as she sank a group of men were waving a German ensign 
attached to a staff. Twelve men were rescued, but only 
seven survived. 

The Kent had four killed and twelve wounded, mostly 
caused by one shell. 

During the time the three cruisers were engaged with 
the Numberg and Leipzig, the Dresden, who was beyond 
her consorts, effected her escape owing to her superior speed. 
The Glasgow was the only cruiser with sufficient speed to 
have had any chance of success. However, she was fully 
employed in engaging the Leipzig for over an hour before 
either the Cornwall or Kent could come up and get within 
range. During this time the Dresden was able to increase 
her distance and get out of sight. 

The weather changed after 4 p.m., and the visibility was 
much reduced ; further, the sky was overcast and cloudy, 
thus assisting the Dresden to get away unobserved. 


A report was received at 11.27 A - M - from H.M.S. Bristol 
that three ships of the enemy, probably transports or colliers, 
had appeared off Port Pleasant. The Bristol was ordered 
to take the Macedonia under his orders and destroy the 

H.M.S. Macedonia reports that only two ships, steam- 
ships Baden and Santa Isabel, were present ; both ships 
were sunk after the removal of the crew. 

The Battle of the Falkland Islands 185 

I have pleasure in reporting that the officers and men 
under my orders carried out their duties with admirable 
efficiency and coolness, and great credit is due to the Engineer 
Officers of all the ships, several of which exceeded their 
normal full speed. 

The names of the following are specially mentioned : 

Commander Richard Herbert Denny Town end, II. M.S. In- 

t incible. 
Commander Arthur Edward Frederick Bedford, H.M.S. Kent. 
Lieutenant-Commander Wilfrid Arthur Thompson, H.M.S. 

Lieutenant-Commander Hubert Edward Danreuther, First and 

Gunnery Lieutenant, H.M.S. Invincible. 
Engineer-Commander George Edward Andrew, H.M.S. Kent. 
Engineer-Commander Edward John Weeks, H.M.S. Invincible. 
Paymaster Cyril Sheldon Johnson, H.M.S. Invincible. 
Carpenter Thomas Andrew Walls, H.M.S. Invincible. 
Carpenter William Henry Venning, H.M.S. Kent. 
Carpenter George Henry Egford, H.M.S. Cornwall. 

Petty Officers and Men 

Ch. P.O. D. Leighton, ON. 124238, Kent. 

P.O., 2nd CI.. M. J. Walton (R.F.R., A. 1756), ON. 1 18358, Kent. 

Ldg. Smn. F. S. Martin, O.N. 233301, Invincible, Gnr's Mate, 
Gunlayer, 1st CI. 

Sigmn. F. Glover, ON. 225731, Cornwall. 

Ch. E. R. Art., 2nd CI., J. G. Hill, O.N. 269646, Cornwall. 

Actg. Ch. E. R. Art., 2nd CI., R. Snowdon, O.N. 270654, In- 

E. R Art., i^t CI., G. H. P. McCarten, ON. 270023, Invincible. 

Stkr S. Brewer, O.N. 15095°. Kent 

l'') W. A. Townsend, O.N. 301650, Cornwall. 

Stkr., it a., J. Smith, O.N. SS 111915. Cornwall. 

Shpv.'rt. I8tCL. A N I England, O.N. 341071, Glasgow. 

Shpwrt., 2nd CI , A. C. II Dymott, O.N. M. 8047, Kent. 

Portsmouth R.F.R.B.-3307 S rgeant Charl May . H.M.S. 




December 8th, 1914. 


H.M.S. Invincible, 
nth December, 1914. 

The following copy of a telegram received from the 
Admiralty, and the reply thereto, are forwarded for in- 
formation. Both of these messages are to be read to the 
whole Ship's Company on the Quarter Deck of H.M. Ships 
under your command. 

(Signed) F. C. D. Sturdee, 
Vice- Admiral, 
The Rear-Admiral and Officers Commanding 

H.M. Ships, 
South Atlantic and South Pacific Squadron. 

For Admiral, Invincible. (Date) 9. 12. 14 
From Admiralty. 

The following message has been received for you from 
His Majesty : — 

I heartily congratulate you and your officers and 
men on your most opportune victory. 

George R.I. 

2. Our thanks are due to yourself and to officers 
and men for the brilliant victory you have reported. 

Reply to His Majesty : 

Your Majesty's gracious message has been received with 
pride and satisfaction by myself, the Rear-Admiral, Captains, 
Officers, and Ship's Companies under my command. 


Messages of Congratulation 187 

We hope soon to have the privilege of completing our 
mission by disposing of the remaining cruiser. 

Commander-in-Chief, Invincible. 

Reply to Their Lordships : 

Admiralty congratulations not received till to-day. 
Myself, officers and men desire to thank their Lordships 
for the approbation of our efforts. 

From C.-IN-C. Home Fleets, H.M.S. Cyclops. 

(Date) 10. 12. 14. 1. 14 a.m. 
With reference to your telegram 485* may I be permitted 
to offer my sincere congratulations on the splendid success 
attending your dispositions. 

From Admiral, Marseillaise, Brest. (Date) 10. 12. 14. 

To Naval Attache. 

I beg to express to the Admiralty how fully I share their 
joy at the brilliant revenge taken by the British Navy at 
the Falklands. F.N. A. Office. 

From Petrograd. 

To Vice-Admiral Sturdee, Admiralty, London. 

(Date) 12. 12. 14. 3.0 a.m. 

Please accept Heartiest Congratulations from the Russian 
Navy for the Brilliant Action of your Squadron in fighting 
the Enemy and sweeping out the oceans. 

Vice-Admiral Roussn N< imi r. 

From ' Home Flei i . H.M.S. Cyclops. 

[Dot | 11. 12.14 I 58 VM - 
Submit th< I ongratulatiorj ol the Grand Fleet 

mi in •. i< torj in 11'.' yed to Admiral Sturdi 1 

emu ihtpi 

188 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Messages exchanged between H.E. the Governor of the 
Falkland Islands and C.-in-C. South Atlantic and Pacific : 

Governor to Vice-Admiral : 11th December, 1914. 

Warmest congratulations from self and Colony on your 

Vice-Admiral to Governor : 

May I thank you and the Colony for myself, the R.A., 
Captains, Officers and men of the Squadron for your con- 
gratulations on our success, which will not be complete 
until Dresden is accounted for. We wish to convey our thanks 
for the early warning of the approach of the enemy due 
to the good lookout from Sapper's Hill. 

We feel the honour that the Canopus and the Squadron 
were in a position to prevent an old British Colony from 
being insulted or injured in any way, and hope that the 
enemy will have been taught a lesson not to repeat such 
action against any other part of the British Empire. 

This Memorandum is to be read to whole Ship's Company 
on the Quarter Deck. 

Invincible, at Port William, 

nth December, 1914. 

The Commander-in-Chief wishes to congratulate all the 
ships of the squadron on the success of their main encounter 
with the enemy's squadron, and to thank the Rear-Admiral, 
Captains, Officers and Men for their individual assistance 
in attaining this great result. The zeal and steadiness under 
fire of all hands were most noticeable. 

2. The victory will not be complete until the remaining 
cruiser is accounted for, and directly the squadron is coaled 
a further organised search will be made. 

3. One of the greatest merits of the action is the small 
list of casualties due to the able handling of the ships by 
their Captains, who utilised the power of the guns and the 
speed of the ships to the best advantage. Further, the 

Messages of Congratulation 189 

effective fire at long range and the thorough organization 
were very evident and enabled the action to be fought with 
success against a foe who displayed splendid courage, deter- 
mination and efficiency. 

4. The excellent way in which the Engine Room De- 
partments responded to a sudden and unexpected demand 
reflects great credit on the officers and the whole engine 
room complements — this demand was made at a time when 
ships were coaling and making good defects during the few 
hours the ships were in harbour. 

5. The successful disposal of the two powerful cruisers, 
two of the three light cruisers, and two colliers, will be of 
great advantage to the Naval Strategy of the British Empire. 

6. Therefore all concerned can feel that they have per- 
formed a National Service on the 8th December, 1914, off 
the Falkland Islands. 

(Signed) F. C. D. Sturdee, 
Vice- Admiral, 

The Rear-Admiral, Captains, Officers, and all concerned, 
South Atlantic and South Pacific Squadron. 



Lord Chamberlain's Office, 
St. James's Palace, S.W., 

yd March, 1915. 
The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for 
the following appointment to the Most Honourable Order 
of the Bath in recognition of the services of the undermen- 
tioned Officer mentioned in the foregoing dispatch : — 

To be an Additional Member of the Military Division of the 
Third Class or Companion : 
Captain John Luce, Royal Navy. 

Admiralty, S.W., 

yd March, 1915. 
The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for 
the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the under- 
mentioned officers in recognition of their services mentioned 
in the foregoing dispatch : — 

Carpenter Thomas Andrew Walls. 
Carpenter William Henry Venning. 
Carpenter George Henry Egford. 

The following awards have also been made : — 

To receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal : 
Portsmouth R.F.R.B.-3307 Sergeant Charles Mayes, H.M.S. 
Kent. A shell burst and ignited some cordite charges in the 


Gallant Services 191 

casemate ; a flash of flame went down the hoi^t into the ammu- 
nition passage. Sergeant Mayes picked up a charge of cordite 
and threw it away. He then got hold of a fire hose and flooded 
the compartment, extinguishing the fire in some empty shell 
bags which were burning. The extinction of this fire saved a 
disaster which might have led to the loss of the ship. 

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal : 

Chf. P.O. D. Leighton, O.N. 12423S. 

P.O.. 2nd CI ., M. J. Walton (R.F.R. A. 1756), O.N. 118358. 

Ldg. Smn. F. S. Martin, O.N. 233301, Gnr's Mate, Gunlayer, 

1st CI. 
Sigmn. F. Glover, O.N. 225731. 

Chf. E.-R. Artr., 2nd CI., J. G. Hill, O.N. 269646. 
Actg. Chf. E.-R. Artr., 2nd CI., R. Snowdon, O.N. 270654. 
E.-R. Artr., 1st CI., G. H. F. McCarten, O.N. 270023. 
Stkr. P.O. G. S. Brewer, O.N. 150950. 
Stkr. P.O. W. A. Townsend, O.N. 301650. 
Stkr., 1st CI., J. Smith, O.N. SS 111915- 
Shpwrt, 1st CI, A. N. E. England, O.N. 341971. 
Shpwrt, 2nd CI., A. C. H. Dymott, O.N. M. 8047. 

The following officers subsequently received recognition : — 

Vice-Admiral Sir F. C. Dove-ton Sturdee, K.C.B., C.V.O., 
C.M.G., was honoured with a Baronetcy of the United 

To be made Companions of the military division of the 
Bath :— 

•.tin John Lao (H.M.S. Glasgow). 
Captain J. I). Allen (H.M.S. Kent). 

Engineer-Commander E. J. Weeks was promoted to 
Acting Engineer-Captain. 

f it Lieutenants of the Invincible, Inflexible, Cornwall, 
Kent, and Glasgow were all promoted to the rank of Com- 
mander in the next batch <>t promotions on December 31st, 

192 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Lieutenant-Commander J. Wolfe Murray (Cornwall). 
Lieutenant-Commander H. E. Danreuther (Invincible). 
Lieutenant-Commander \V. A. Thompson (Glasgow). 
Lieutenant-Commander E. L. Wharton (Kent). 
Lieutenant-Commander R. H. C. Verner (Inflexible). 

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander J. F. Shaw, the senior 
officer of his rank in the squadron, was promoted to Engineer 


The following is the complete revised casualty list of the 
action off the Falkland Islands on December 8th, 1914 : — 


Killed.— Martell, E. H., stoker petty officer, P0./310682. 

Dangerously wounded. — Bridger, M. J. E., A.B., P0./J7095. 

Severely wounded. — Ford, H. B. S., signalman, P0./J4597 ; 
M.ijor, P. E., shipwright 2nd class, P0./3444S9 ; Scotchmcr, 
A. D., A.B. P0./232275. 


Killed.— Livingstone, N., A.B. (R.F.R., Ch./B3593), Ch./ 

Slightly wounded. — Hasler, T., ord. seaman, Ch./JiSo32 : 
Mayes, A., seaman, R.N.R., 4754A ; Spratt, G. F., A.B., Ch./ 

H.M.S. "KENT" 

Killed.— Kelly, S., pte., R.ML.I. (R.F.R., A366), P0./3793 ; 
Kind, W. J., pte., R.M.L.L, P0./15049 ; Titheridge, A. C, pte... 
R.ML.I. (R.F.R., B1254), P0./11220; Wood, W., pte. R.M.L.I., 
P0./16920 ; Young, W., >'-;iman, R.N.R., 2543C. 

Died of wounds. — Duckctt, G. A., officers' steward 1st cl 
P0./L2428 ; Snow, G., pte., R.M.L.L, P0./1685S ; Spence, T., 
sergt., R.ML.I. (R.F.R.. A811), P0./5674. 

Wounded.— ArnoM, W. P., R.M.L.L (R.F.R., B8l 
P0./8302 ; Brewer, G. S., stoker petty officer (R.F.R., A3572), 
T 150950; Day, F. T.. pte.. R.M.L.L (R.F.R.. A1008), 
Ch./65i7; Lixtdsey, EL, Btoker 1st cl. (RJ EL, 63754), P&/SS 
1 i; ,, J;.-. E., 1 mce-corporal KM I. I. (R.F.R., 1 

3 ; Pear, J , toker 1 1 < 1. (R.F.R., 4x72), P0./SS102840 ; 
' kef 1 tcL(R 1 ML, l'r'55). l , °/- , ) l "7.\ '■ Sheridan, 
*.. P., pte , k.Mi.i, P0./1 


The Secretary of the Admiralty makes the following an- 
nouncement : — 

On 14th March, at 9 a.m., H.M.S. Glasgow, Captain John 
Luce, C.B., R.N. ; H.M. Auxiliary Cruiser Orama, Captain 
John R. Segrave, R.N. ; and H.M.S. Kent, Captain John D. 
Allen, C.B., R.N., caught the Dresden near Juan Fernandez 

An action ensued. After five minutes' fighting the Dresden 
hauled down her colours and displayed the white flag. 

She was much damaged and set on fire, and after she 
had been burning for some time her magazine exploded, 
and she sank. 

The crew were saved. Fifteen badly wounded Germans 
are being landed at Valparaiso. 

There were no British casualties, and no damage to the 



a list of officers serving 

in the actions recorded in 

the narrative 


A List of Officers serving in the Ships that took 
part in the Actions recorded in the Narrative 


Armed Merchantman 

Captain Noel Grant 

Com. R.N.R. . . . . James Barr 

Lieutenant Edmund L. B. Lockyer 

Lieut.-Com. R.N.R. .. Wm. J. O'Neill 
Lieut. R.N.R Peter A. Murchie 

E. B. Dalby 

Walter C. Battle 

J. Henessey 

M. F. Murray 

William V. Ogley (act.) 

A. Parnis (act.) 

Ch. Eng. R.N.R Francis Drummond 

Sen. Eng. R.N.R. . . James Mcdonald 
Eng. R.N.R Robert Craig 

Alexander Lindsay 
:de Shore 

Robert Wilson 

John u. T- . 

James Duncan 

Harold Kendall 

Clvnl' Rennie 

Walt Fra 1 1 

Jann M< I'll- r en 
t-Surgeon \. ( ropley (l 

py. Surgeon .. .. i.. M.'ynard 
Harry Clough 

198 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Ch. Gunner 

Act. Sub-Lieutenant 

Asst. Eng. R.N.R. 

Asst. Paym. R.N.R. 


Asst. Paym. R.N.R. 


Midshipman R.N.R. 

Henry Middleton 
G. F. Dickens 
Joseph Verdin 
Albert E. Brittlebank 
Percival J. Thompson 

Walter H. Ramsden 
Arthur H. Burden 
Ernest W. Turney 
William Man 

D. N. Colson 

E. R. Linger-Burton (proby.) 
J. R. Bane (proby.) 

W. Barr (proby.) 

R. P. Nisbet (proby.) 

J. B. Mein (proby.) 





Armoured Cruiser 

. . Sir Christopher G. F. M. Cradock, 
K.C.V.O., C.B. 

; iry 
Flag Lieut. -Com. 

Lieut. R.M . . 
. to Sec. 


Lieut. -Commander 


. nani R.N.R. 

Eng. Com 

Eng m. 

Major R.M. 

.;.'. . . 
Surgeon (Rest l 
Asst. Paym 

■ runner . . 

Ch. Sig. E 

Personal Staff 

George B. Owens 
George E. Gumming 

Harold S. Walker 
John Egremont 
Edward C. Webber 
Philip Francklin, M.V.O. 
Arthur T. Darley 
Walter Scott 

\.,1 Van Straubenzee 
Id B. Gaskell 
Godfrey B. J. Bony on 
Lancelot A. .Montgomery 
Gordon E. E. Gray 
John M. H. Fishi r 
Douglas C. Tudor 
Arthur G. Smith 
Edward J. French 
Arthur Brown 
Herbert W. Couch 

rich ' . I -.■ (wards 
Ri v. Arthur li. J. Pitt 

|. w'.il h, M.B. 
Alfred II. Veitch 
aand L J. M. de Vert nil, M.B. 
1 1 tter 

John !•'-. Tizard 
Stuart Wi 

1 . 1 ii 

200 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Boatswain Franklyn F. Stephens 

John W. Bushell 
Warrant Officer (act.) Robert C. T. Roe 

Gunner William D. Wright 

Francis A. G. Oakley 

Robert J. Page (act.) 

William W. Kingdom (act.) 

Carpenter Albert J. Hellyer 

Artif. Eng Richard M. Healy 

William R. Henon 

Joseph Duckworth 
Wt. Mechanician . . William A. Bass 
Mid. R.C.N W. A. Palmer 

F. V. W. Hathaway 

A. W. Silver 

M. Cann 
Mid. R.N.R Graham Trounson (proby.) 

Henry K. D. Cuthbert (proby.) 

Geoffrey M. Dowding (proby.) 

Asst. Clerk Charles G. Cook (tempy.) 

Naval Cadet . . . . G. Coffin 

I. M. R. Campbell 

S. M. Raw 

D. A. Willey 

R. A. Macdonald 




Armoured Cruiser 

Commander . . 





Captain P.M. 
Staff Surgeon 
Fleet Paym. 
Asst. Paym. 
Ch. Gunner . . 
Ch. Carpenter 

Arlif. Eng. . . 

Frank Brandt 

Spencer D. Forbes 

B rtie W. Bluett 

Hugh D. Collins 

Hon. Peter R. II. D. Willoughby 

John A. Lees 

Thomas Stapleton 

Harry P. Rogers 

Alfred Edgar 

Wilfred D. Stirling 

Maurice J. 11. Bagot 

John B. Wilshin 

Bernard C. Child 

Lionel B. Wansbrough 

Geoffrey M. I. Herford 

W't. Mechanician 
Wt. Eng. R.NR 

Clerk .. 
Asst. Clerk 
Naval Cadit 

Henry Woods 
John Cooper 
Albert J. Tonkinson 
I lanway Cooper 
Douglas B. Lee 
Robert T. H. V. Lee 
Frederick G. Hartland 
James Bennett 
William J. Barrett 
Thomas B. Ireland (act.) 
George II. Farcbrother 
Alfred T. Johns 
William Day 
Alfred Start 
Charl< Driver 
l St. m. Card* 

Cecil T. Martin (lempy.) 
k. A. If, Somcrvilli- 
G. R. Bruce 

202 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Naval Cadet 

J. F. Boulton 

V. G. E. S. Schreiber 

J. R. Le G. Pullen 

F. A. Cooper 
C. Musgrave 
J. M. Pascoe 

G. W. Muir 
P. S. Candy 




Light Cruiser 


Lieut. -Commander 

Lieut. R.X.R. 

Eng. Lieut. -Com. 
Eng. Lieut. 
Fleet Surgeon 
Staff Surgeon 
Staff Paymaster 
Asst. Paym. . . 


Art if. Eng. 

Midshipman R.X.R. 

John Luce 

Wilfred A. Thompson 
Charles L. Backh<> 
Maurice P. B. Portman 
1 ! tbert I. N. Lyon 
Charles G. Stuart 
Walter M. Knowles 
T. W. F. Winter 
I tcderick B. Alison 
Percy J. Shrubsole 
John S. Machan 
Robert T. Gilmour 
Alexander T. Wysard (ret.) 
Francis E. Adams 
Lloyd Hirst 
Norman H. Beall 
Arthur G. Foreman 
Wdliam R. Hcilbroun 
George H. Bartlett 
Sylvester G. Pawley 
Charles A. Palscr 
James Milne (act.) 
George W. Wilson 

204 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 


Armed Merchantman 


Commander R.N.R. 
Lieutenant R.N.R. 

Ch. Eng. R.N.R. 
Sen. Eng. R.N.R. 
Engineer R.N.R. 

Tempy. Surgeon . . 
Sub-Lieutenant R.N.R. 
Asst. Eng. R.N.R. 

Asst. Paym. R.N.R. 


Midshipman R.N.R. 

Herbert M. Edwards 

Walter de M. Baynham, R.D. 

Julian M. Ogilvie 

T. B. Storey 

H. W. Woodcock 

H. G. Thompson 

R. M. Ward 

F. R. O' Sullivan 
A. W. Clemson 
David Montgomery 
William J. Philip 
William Mackersie 
Robert Pittendrigh 
Andrew Allen 
Adam A. I. Kirk 
W. Meikle 

S. Robertson 

G. F. Willdigg 
R. Roscoe 
Alan Cameron 
Peter Brown 
Thomas R. Blellock 
Alexander C. Mearns 
John Gemmell 
Aymer. R. McDougall 
William McL. Allan 
Roland H. Draper 
Thomas B. Wildman 
W. J. Drew (ret.) 
Charles E. F. St. John 
Herbert J. Anchor 
George D. Scott 
George E. D. Billam 
D. N. White 

C. C. Lawrence 




Commander . . 
Lieut. -Commander 


Licut.-Com. R N.R. 
Lieutenant R.N.R. 

Eng. Commander 
Eng. Lieut. -Com. 
Captain R. M.L.I 
Fleet Paymaster . . 
Lieutenant R.N.R. 

Staff Surgeon 

Tempy. Surgeon . . 

Surgeon R.N.V.R. 

Asst. Paym. R.N.R. 


Ch. Boatswain 



Ch. Artificer Eng. 

Art. Eng. 

Wt. Eng. R.N.R. 

Ch. Carpenter 


Heathcote S. Grant 

Philip J. Stopford 

Andrew Kerr (ret.) 

Philip Hordern 

Harry T. Bennett 

Henry N. Lesley 

Owen W. Phillips 

Arthur H. Bird 

Charles T. Keigwin. R.D. 

Clarence Milner 

David M. Clarke (act.) 

"William A. Williamson (act.) 

Malcolm C. Powell 

William Denbow 

Sydney P. Start 

Gerald S. Hobson 

Albert Greenwood 

Charles C. Cartwright 

William J. Donohue 

August J. Wernet 

Michael Vlaste 

Charles H. F. Atkinson 

Harold E. W. Lutt 

Rev. James D. de Vitrc 

John Myers 

James Irish 

William Evans 

William E. T. Honey (act.) 

Walter G. Morris 

Ernest E. Moorcy 

T. W. Greenwood 

Albert Hughes 

C. R. O. Burgc 

R.fcT. Young 

P. R. lialet d<; Carter t 

206 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Midshipman . . . . J. L. Storey 

H. M. L. Durrant 

R. H. L. Orde 

R. K. Dickson 

B. R. Cochrane 

L. H. P. Henderson 

L. H. V. Booth 

Male R. C. T. Roe (act.), left by Good Hope 

on an island at Vallenar Roads, 

Clerk Jean le Jeune 

Midshipman, R.N.R. . . Lawrence H. Faragher 




Armoured Cruiser 



Flag Lieutenant 

Clerk to Sec. 

Commander . . 

it. -Comma 


Lieutenant R.N.R. 

Eng. Commander 
Eng. Lieutenant 
Maj. R.M. . . 
Captain R.M. 
Fleet Surgeon 
Fleet Paym. . . 

Surgeon R.N.V.R 

Assl. Paym. . . 

Sig. Boatswain 

Archibald P. Stoddart 

Thomas R. Watcrkousc 

Hon. Humphrey A. Pakington 

H. Guy Pertwee 

Harry L. d'E. Skipwith 
Thomas A. Williams 
Ronald E. Chilcott 
Arthur S. Burt 
Arthur G. Leslie 
Ralph Leatham 
A. M. Donovan 
David B. Nicol 
Bertram Shillitoc 
Bertram H. Davies 
Alfred T. P. Read 
Edward Iliff 
Edmund Wray 
Arthur J. Mcllor 
Rev. John Beatty 
Edward Cooper 
Albert E. B. Hosken 
Arthur G. Valpy French 
William H. Condcll 
Philip F. Glover 

rick W. F. Cuddeford 
Herebert E. Symons 
William II. Hunt 
Sidney I . Woodrifle 
John F. Ilannaford 
W. II. Ellis 
Alfred Hill 
Albert E. Pearson 

tt li. Ilunwicks 

208 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Carpenter Norman O. Staddon 

Artif. Eng Harold E. Oyler 

Claude B. King 

James Telford 

Charles Hill 

William S. Branson 

Clerk Charles H. Doubleday 

Midshipman . . . . J. R. Warburton 

P. M. S. Blackett 

P. J. M. Penney 

S. P. Broughton 

A. C Jelf 

R. M. Dick 

R. G. Fowle 

C. J. M. Hamilton 

J. C. E. A. Johnson 

M. S. Graham 

R. Mandley 

L. H. Peppe 




Commander . . 
Lieut. -Commander 


Sub-Lieutenant R.N.R. 

Eng. Commander 
Eng. Lieutenant . . 

Captain R.M. 
Chaplain and N.I. 
Fleet Surgeon 
Fleet Paymaster . . 
Naval Inst 


Asst. Paym 

Asst. Paym. R.N.R. 
Ch. Art. Eng. 


Art. Eng. 


Armoured Cruiser 

. Walter M. Ellerton 

. Herbert A. Buchanan- Wollaston 

James Wolfe-Murray 

Henry E. H. Spencer-Cooper, M.V.O. 
. Mansel B. F. Colvile 

Edward W. Sinclair 

Kenneth B. Millar 

Norman Whitehead 

John S. Hammill 

Robin E. Jeffreys 

Desmond A. Stride 

William H. Richardson 

Archibald W. Maconochie 

Douglas G. Campbell 

Cecil J. Meggs 

Herbert R. Brewer 

Robert McKew, B.A., B.D. 

Malcolm Cameron 

Harry G. Wilson 

Chas. S. P. Franklin, B.A. 

George H. Andrew, M.A. 

Cecil R. M. Baker 

Henry Rogers 

Joseph H. Wilson 

Thomas R. I. Crabb 

Edwin C. Edwards 

Ernest Stone 

Richard F. Hall 

Edward W. Pearnc (T.) 

Ernest H. Gearing 

George H. Egford 

Percy S. Walkey 

Edwin Fo 

Philip F. Armstrong 

Arthur II. Ashwurlh 

210 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Midshipman .. ... Hugh E. Burnaby 

John Bostock 
Douglas M. Branson 
Lycett Gardiner 
Jocelyn S. Bethell 
Morice Blood 
Richard F. Carter 
Willoughby N. Barstow 
Nigel D. Bury 
William S. Batson 

Appendix 211 


Light Cruiser 

Captain Basil H. Fanshawc 

Commander Harry L. Boyle 

Lieut. -Commander . . Ernest G. H. Du Boulay 
Lieutenant Robert F. U. P. Fitzgerald 

Archibald B. Cornabe 

Edward G. G. Hastings 
Lieutenant R.N.R. . . James A. Hodges 
Eng. Commander . . James D. W. H. F. Cranley 

Etlg. Lieutenant . . . . Edward G. Sanders 
Staff Surgeon .. .. Leslie M. Morris 
Staff Paym. . . . . Tom Henley 

Sub-Lieutenant . . . . Cyril A. H. Brooking 

Charles H. L. Woodhouse 
Gunner Stephen W. Duckett 

George W. Callaway 

Boatswain Frank Box 

Carpenter William L. Harfield 

Art if. Evg William Tcarlc 

Joseph L. Wagstaff 
Clerk John G. B. Collier 

James Hogg 

2i2 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 


Armed Merchantman 


Commander R.N.R. 
Lie ut.- Commander 
Lieut. -Com. R.N.R. 

Lieutenant R.N.R. 

Ch. Eng. R.N.R. 
Sen. Eng. R.N.R. 
Eng. R.N.R. 

Tempy. Surgeon . . 
Sub-Lieutenant R.N.R. 

Surg. Prob. R.N.V.R. 
Asst. Eng. R.N.R. 

Asst. Paym. in charge 
Asst. Paym. R.N.R. 


Midshipman R.N.R. 

Bertram S. Evans, M.V.O. 
Edwin P. Martin 
Valentine D. English 
Henry G. Westmore, R.D. 
W. F. Pollard 
W. C. Young 
T. C. W. Thompson 
F. Cross 

James G. Crichton 
Thomas S. Ferguson 
William C. O. Taylor 
Walter J. Hickingbotham 
James Finnecy 
George R. R. Cushing 
Edmund J. Caws 
Frederick P. Voisey 

A. M. Russell 
Alfred W. Drew 

E. F. Hannan 
O. Taylor 
Jeffery Elliott 
Harold Williamson 
Oliver J. R. Pinkney 

F. C. Masters 
Joseph Neale 
William G. Cheeseman 
Herbert W. Landon 
Percy Selwin 

James W. Drew 
H. J. Miller 

G. V. Thomas 

F. H. E. Firmstone 
Gordon D. Brown 

B. V. Rutley 
W. G. Hiscock 




Armed Merchantman 


Commander R.N.R. 
Lieut. -Commander 

Lieut. R.N.R. 

Ch. Engineer 
Sen. Engineer 

Asst. Engineer 

Tempy. Surgeon . . 

Sub-Lieut. R.N.R. 

Asst. l'aym. R.N.R. 

Midshipman i: 

John R. Segrave 

John F. Healey, R.D. 

Joseph W. L. Hunt 

Geoffrey G. Thome 

Edward S. Carver 

Henry T. Healc (ret.) 

Allen Fielding 

Frederick W. Willsden (ret 

T. P. Webb 

W. A. Assenheimer 

John Robertson 

Donald McL. McWilliam 

J. R. Dowling 

James Imrie 

H. P. Jack 

Alexander S. Hall 

Alexander Manson 

Neil H. T. Hill 

Charles W. Howil 

Donald Matheson 

David A. Sheeby 

David M. Johnston 

William Turner 

William Houston 

James Piggott 

James McAdam 

(.■ orge J [erd 

1 [1 ib' rt E. Scowcroft 

Sydney W< lham 

.M. \V. < ■ 

1 [1 1 bert New man 

J"lm F. COOpt 1 
Arthur J Bui 

i.i Robert 
Stuai 1 1 . Pocock 

214 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Midshipman R.N.R. . . Leonard E. Fordham 
Bernard K. Berry 
S. S. Adley 
H. Schofield 
H. C. C. Forsyth 
G. E. G. Sandercock 





Flag Lieutenant 

Clerk to Sec. 



Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdec, K.C.B., 
C.V.O., CM.G. 

Cyril S. Johnson 
Reginald W. Blake 
Arthur D. Duckworth 

Commander . . 
Lieut. -Commander 


Lieutenant R.N.R. 
Eng. Commander 
Eng. Lieut. -Conini 
Eng. Lieutenant . . 
Major R.M. 
Captain R.M. 
Temp. Lieut. R.M. 




l I m 



Percy T. H. Beamish 
Richard H. D. Townsend 
Hubert E. Dannreuther 
Hon. Edward B. S. Bingham 
John C. F. Borrett 
Lionel H. Shore 
Edward Smyth-Osbourne 
Cecil S. Sandford 
Cameron St. C. Ingham 
Hugh H. G. Begbie 
George ff. H. Lloyd 
Edward J. Weeks 
James F. Shaw 
Francis L. Mogg 
Robert C. Colquhoun 
Charles H. Maiden 
John T. Le Seelleur 
Rev. Arthur C. Moreton, M.A. 
Ernest \Y. Mainprice 
Walter J. Bearblock 

t Mai Ewan 
( Ian n< e E Gro on, M.B. 
Alexandi r r. McMullen it R. St v.. nt 

"ii Franklin 

( V up ni A. \v Hand 

William 1 I [unt 
Eloberl Connolly 
M.u k W. < ameroo 

216 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Gunner Ernest J. Read 

Sydney C. Kennell 

Boatswain Frederick Luker 

Philip J. Warrington 

Wilfred Turner 
Sig. Boatswain . . . . William F. Raper 

Gunner R.M Albert E. Nixon 

Carpenter Thomas A. Walls 

Artf. Engineer . . . . Walter H. Bull 

John Dews 

Frederick C. Fry 

Clerk William R. C. Steele 

Midshipman . , . . Gordon T. Campbell 

Edwin T. Hodgson 

Douglas A. C. Birch 

John M. Shorland 

John H. G. Esmonde 

Allan G. McEwan 

Rupert C. Montagu 

Lionel D. Morse 

Duncan G. Reid 




Battle Cruiser 


Lieut. -Commander 


Lieutenant R.N.R 

Eng. Commander 

Eng. Lieut. -Commander 

Eng. Lieutenant 

Major R.M. 

Captain R.M. 


Fleet Surgeon 

Fleet Paym. . . 


Sub- Lieutenant (act.) 

Paym. . . 
Lh. (jiinner . . 
B oat swain 
Ck. A*t). j >... 

Richard F. Philliniore, C.B., M.V.O. 

Ernest Wigram 

John W. Carrington 

Rudolf H. C. Verner 

Hon. Patrick G. E. C. Acheson, 

Frederic Giffard 
Ralph B. Janvrin 
Edward C. Denison 
Kenneth H. D. Acland 
Arthur W. Blaker 
Brian L. G. Sebastian 
Herbert J. Giles 
Harry Lashmore 
Arthur E. Lester 
Rey G. Parry 
John B. Finlaison 
Robert Sinclair 
Rev. Ernest S. Phillips, M.A. 
Edward H. Meaden 
Henry Horniman 
John H. B. Martin, M.B., B.A. 
Martyn H. Langford 
Thos. H. Welsby 
Alexander C. G. Madden 
Leicester St. J. Curzon-Howe 
Robert D. Oliver 
Alfred E. B. Giles 
Jnlni H. Mai nair 

I k orge T. Philip 
Terence J 1. 1 teu k 
John !•'. Stephen 1 
Edward Fox 
Alfred M. Cady 
George E. Martin 

218 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 


Sig. Boatswain 
Gunner R.M. 
Artf. Engineer 
Artf. Eng. (act.) 
Bandmaster R.M 


John H. Moore 
Frederick W. Furmadge 
John A. Brander 
Phillip J. Jones 
John Cameron 
William A. Cawsey 
Charles A. Richards 
William S. Barnes 
Herbert Reely 
Rupert E. Bethune 
John D. Chappie 
Regd. G. France-Hay hurst 
David D. Mercer 
Crichton F. Laborde 



H.M.S. "KENT" 

Armoured Cruiser 

Lieut. -Commander 


Lieut. -Com. R.N.R. 

Lieutenant R.N.R. 

Eng. Commander 
Eng. Lieutenant . . 
Captain R.M. 

Temp. Surg. 
Surgeon R.N. V.R. 
Asst. Paym. R.N.R. 


Sig. Boatswain 


A rlj. 1 

Wt. Engirt > R N R. 

M ids fnp,) l 

John D. Allen 
Arthur E. F. Bedford 
Eric L. Wharton 
James R. Harvey 
Victor H. Danckwerts 
Charles M. Redhead, R.D. 
Harold T. Dunn 
Frederic C. Howard 
William G. B. Jones 
Walter R. Tilling 
James Marshall 
John L. S. G. Lilley 
George E. Andrew 
Victor O. Foreman (ret.) 
Robert W. J. Laing 
Rev. Norman B. Kent, B.A. 
Edward B. Pickthorn (ret.) 
Sydney G. Andrews 
Ronald E. B. Burn 
Thomas B. Dixon 
William G. Stewart 
Thomas P. Collins 
Claude II. Griffiths 
William T. Dunning 
Walter 1 1. Speed 

1 in I C Crouch r 
William 1 1. Venning 

William MuiiL 
John < '.u row 
John \V. Scuit 

Id Campbell 
Robi it I. Bui 1 idge 
John l> Ro 

I M Willi. mi 

< . 1;. Liley 

220 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Midshipman R.N.R. . . Cecil B. Hogan 

Harold W. S. Wright 

Midshipman R.N.R. . . Frederick E. Valentine 
George W. Barker 
Edgar H. Cowan 

Clerk Reginald H. Kitchin 


Allardyce, the Hon. William, 

Governor of Falkland 

Islands, 13S 

.Mien, Captain J. D., of Kent, 27 

a tribute to crew of Kent bj . 

created a C.B., 191 
America (South), apprehension in, 

Germans in, 16, 6S 

scenery of, 159 
Asama in eastern Pacific, 46 
Atlantic (South), battle in, 9, 26, 

?5« l( *9 

Australia joins North Pacific 
squadron, 72 

Baden sunk by Bristol, 92 

I3arr, Acting-Commander James 
C, awarded C.B., 171 

Battle-cruiser action, a, 96, 181 

Beamish, Captain P. H., of 
Invincible, 27 

Boarding parties and their work, 

Brandt, Captain Frank, of Mon- 
mouth, 21 

Brazilian ports, enemy shipping 
at, 25 

Brewer, Stkr. P.O. G. S., a 
D.S.M. for, 191 

Bristol, officers of, 211 
opens fire on Karlsruhe 

British casualties in the Falk . 

men-of-war off South America, 

da purchases submarines, 7 
Canopus, an amusing incident on, 
converted into a floating fort, 

63, 8 ? 
fine work of, 58 
go' g by, 90 


skilful navigation of, 58 
Caf Trafalgar, sinking; 

official dispatch on aci> a, log 

Car mania, a conflagration on, 38 
decorations for officers and men, 

heroism of crew, 44 
officers of, 197-8 
sinks Cap Trafalgar, 9-10, 26, 
35 et seq., 169 

irvon, a German's toast, 108 
a valuable capture by, 24 
chases the enemy, 93 
officers of, 207 
Chilean coast, action off the 

Coronel, battle of) 
China, German squadron in, 4 
Coaling, the ''delights" of, 30 
Colson, Midshipman D. N., 

awarded D.S.'C, 171 
Concentration, necessity of, 61, 64 
Cornwall chases enemy, no 
decorations for crew, 121-3 
escorts Carmania to base, 42 
officers of 209 
opens fire on Leipzig, 114 
Coronel, battle of, 45 et seq. 
enemy torpedo attack at, 55 
official dispatches on, 172-7 
outstanding features of, 59 
unreliable accounts of, 60 
vessels engaged in, 46 

ibility conditions advan- 
tageous to enemy, 52 
von Spee's report on, 52, 174 
<'radock, Rear-Admiral Sir Chris- 
topher, a tribute to, 58 
goes down with his ship, 56 
his command reinforced, 
his at Coronel. 

hoisN fids fie . 
sights and chases Karlsrut. 
21 ' 

■man pri- 

( \>m. I!. I , 
pron . 192 

to join southern 

Town, 7<) 

g Sub-Lii !>• I ■■ 1 . 

aw. iid' 111... 1 ' 1.1 

222 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Dresden, a vain search for, 136, 158 
arrives at Orange Bay, 7 
chase of, no 
eludes her pursuers, 114 
hoists the white flag, and sinks, 

165, 166 
joins von Spee, 8 
sinking of : Admiralty an- 
nouncement on, 194 
Dymott, Shpwrt. A. C. H., 
awarded D.S.M., 191 

Easter Island, German squadron 

at, 6, 45 
Edinburgh Castle, deck hockey on, 

Edwards, Captain H. MoL, of 

Otranto, 21 
Edwards, Mr., of Easter Island, 


Egford, Carpenter G. H., receives 

D.S.C., 121, 190 

Ellerton, Captain W. iM., of Corn- 
wall, 21 j 113 
effioient handling of his ship, 

Emden, exploits and sinking of, 
11-12, 15, 63 

England, Shpwrt. A. N. E., a 
D.S.M. for, 191 

Evans, Captain B. S., of Mace- 
donia, 21 

Falkland Islands, battle of, Ad- 
miral Sturdee's dispatch on, 

battle-cruiser action, 96 

et seq., 181 
British casualties in, 138, 


commercial importance of, 

I 5 I 
congratulations on, 138, 

decisive nature of, 135 
enemy sighted, 87 
light cruiser action, no, 

l8 3. 

the prize bounty, 139 
contemplated seizure of, 74, 75, 

89, 119, 152 
land and sea defences of, 63, 85 
topography of, 81 
why chosen as base, 18 
Fanning Island, British cable sta- 
tion destroyed at, 6 

Fanshawe, Captain B. H., of Bris- 
tol, 21, 23, 24 

Felton, Mrs., her services recog- 
nised, 88 

Food problem in wartime, 30 

Francklin, Captain Philip, of Good 
Hope, 20 

French colonies, Germans and, 13 

German barbarity, a typical in- 
stance of, 108 
casualties in the Falklands, 138, 


4'i-inch gun, range of, 47, 126 
light cruisers, chase of, no 
men-of-war in foreign seas, 1 et 

sailors buried at sea, 109 
Germans abandon colonies in Poly- 
nesia, 14 
in .South America, 16, 68 
Germany, her responsibility for the 

war, 156, 157 
Glasgow, a duel with Leipzig, 112 
casualties in Coronel battle, 56 
chases enemy cruisers, no 
officers of, 203 
sights enemy, 49 
Glover, Signalman Frank, awarded 

D.S.M. , 123, 191 
Gneisenau, a gallant fight by, 102 
accurate shooting by, 53 
end of, 104 

her commander rescued, 107 
Good Hope becomes Admiral Cra- 
dock's flagship, 20 
loss of, 54-5 
officers of, 199-200 
Grant, Captain Heathcoat, of 

Canopus, 21, 23 
Grant, Captain Noel, of Carmania, 

26, 37 
awarded C.B., 171 
Great Britain and German colonies, 

enters the War, 4 

Hague Conference and the law of 

neutrality, 152 
High explosives, curious examples 

of damage by, 121 
Hill, Chief Engine Room Artificer, 

awarded D.S.M., 122, 191 
Hizen in the Pacific, 46, 72 

Idzuma in the Pacific, 46, 72 



Inflexible, a fine run by, 66 

first shot in Falkland Islands 
battle, 93 

officers of, 217 
InvincibU and Falkland Islands 
battle, 93 

damaged, 105, 106 

joins Admiral Stoddart's squad- 
ron, 66 

lost in Jutland battle, 140 

officers of, 215 

J afan declares war, 13, 14 
Japanese cruisers in the eastern 
Pacific, 46 

Karlsruhe, chase and escape of, 8 

end of, 9, 62 
Kent, anxiety regarding fate of, 


casualties on, 132 

chases German cruisers, no 

duel with Number g, 128 

ensign of, 133 

officers of, 219 

opens fire on Leipzig, 114 

sights Dresden, 164 
Konigsberg blocked up and de- 
stroyed, 12, 63 
Kronprir.z Wilhelm, escape of, 8 

internment of, 11 

Lkatham. Captain E. La T., of 

Defence, 26 
Leighton, Chf. P.O. D., a D.S.M. 

for, 191 
Leipzig, a running fight by, 115 
chase of, no 
eludes her pursuers, 45 
end of, no et seq., 118 
joins von Spec's squadron, 7,45 
on fire, 1 17 

stories of survivors, 119 
Life at sea in 1914, 28 et seq. 
Lockyer, Lieut. - Commander 

E. L. B., awarded D.S.O., 
Luce, Captain John, of Glasgow, 
and Falkland Islands battle, 

"!, 'M 
award' 1 I '. B., 1 ,1 

■>n Coron< 1 nation, 


martare, 105, no, 

ionia conveya German pri- 
soners, 139 
officers of, 212 

Magellan, Straits of, 161 

Maltzhan, Baron von, 155 

Martin, Ldg. Smn. F. S., awarded 
D.S.M. , 191 

Mas-a-Fuera, temporary head- 
quarters of German squad- 
ron, 71 

Mayes, Sergt. Charles, brave deed 
recognised, 129, 130, 190 

MoCarten, E.-R. Artr. G. H. F., 
awarded D.S.M., 191 

Mcra, voluntary internment of, 155 

Merchant ships, increased enemy 
sinkings of, 24 

Mersey destroys Konigsberg, 12 

Middleton, Chief Gunner Henry, 
awarded D.S.C., 171 

Monmouth in Coronel action, 53 
loss of, 56 
officers of, 2or-2 

Murray, Lieut. -Com. J. Wolfe, pro- 
motion for, 192 

Napier, Captain W. R., of Edin- 
burgh Castle, 26 
Naval actions, tactics of modern, 

Navarro sunk by Orama, 63 
Navy, the, life at sea, 28 et seq. 

postal arrangements of, 32 

work in wartime, 28-34 
Newbolt, Sir Henry, on Admiral 
Cradock, 58 

on Falkland Islands battle, 135 
Newcastle in the North Pacific, 72 
Number g, chase of, no 

duel with Kent, 128 

joins von Spee's squadron, 6 

sinking of, 131 

sinks Monmouth, 56 

Orama, officers of, 213 

sinks a German storeship, 63 
Otranto, officers of, 204 

under enemy fire, 57 

Pacific (Western), the, c.erman 

squ.ulron in, 4 

■ mberdnv trl >f, 21 

il sunk at, '1 

• .-. Internment of, 155 

f'egasus, sinking of, 12 

224 The Battle of the Falkland Islands 

Phillimore, Captain R. F., of 

Inflexible, 27 
Port Stanley, arrival of Canofus: 

the scene, 84 
description of, 82 
Port William, British squadron in, 

Postal arrangements at sea, 32 
Princess Royal in North American 

waters, 155 
Prinz Eitel Friedrich, internment 

of, 10, 164 
Professor Woermann, capture of, 24 

Royal Naval Reserve, efficiency of, 

Sailors, the psychology of, 141 et 

Santa Isabel, sunk by Bristol, 92 
Scharnhorst badly hit, 99, 100 
good marksmanship of, 53 
sinking of, 101 
Segrave, Captain J. R., of 

Orana, 21 
Serajevo tragedy, the, 157 
Severn and the end of Konigsberg, 

Seydlitz, escape of, 123 
Shark fishing as a pastime, 31 
Shaw, Eng. Lieut.-Com. J. F., 

promotion for, 192 
Skipwith, Captain H. L. d'E., of 

Carnarvon, 24 
Smith, Stoker John, a D.S.iM. for, 

122, 191 
Snowdon, Adt.-Chf. E.-R. Artr.R., 

a D.S.M. for, 191 
South America {see America, 

Spee, Vice-Admiral Count von, 
and his command, 4 
aims and hopes of, 151 et seq. 
contemplates seizure of Falk- 

lands, 74, 75, 89, 119, 152 
death of, 105 

movements of his squadron, 67 
policy of, considered and ana- 
lysed^ 13-18 

Spee, Vice-Admiral (cont.) : 
refuses to drink a toast, 139 
report on Coronel battle, 52 

Stoddart, Rear-Admiral and a 
rescued kinsman, 108 
commands British squadron, 

reinforcements from England 

for, 65 
succeeds Admiral Cradock, 60 
transfers his flag, 63 
Sturdee, Vice-Admiral F. C. Dove- 
ton, 27 
a Baronetcy for, 191 
dispatch on battle of Falkland 

Islands, 178 et seq. 
his strategic victory, 135 
in command of British squad- 
ron, 79, 80 
ordered to Gibraltar, 159 
Submarines purchased by Cana- 
dian Government, 7 
Suffolk chases Karlsruhe, 8 
Sydney dn action with Etnden, n 

Thompson, Lieut.-Com. W. A., 

promotion for, 192 
Titania, enemy auxiliary cruiser, 6 
Townsend, Stoker P.O. W. A., 

awarded D.iS.tM., 122, 191 
Tsingtau, German base at, 4 
Turner, Maj., commands Falkland 

Island Volunteers, 86 

Venning, Carpenter W. H., 
awarded D.S.C., 190 

Verner, Lieut.-Com. R. H. C, pro- 
motion for, 192 

A., awarded 

Walls, Carpenter T 

D.S.C., 190 
Walton, P.O. M. J., 

for, 191 
Weeks, Engineer-Com. 

motion for, 191 
Wharton, Com., and 

Nurnberg, 133 
promotion for, 192 
Wireless stations, German, 16 

a D.-S.-M. 
E. J., pro- 
sinking of 

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